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Ed Sheeran

Lockout backfires as Atlas workers strike

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A lock-out at a Northland concrete plant has turned into a strike with workers staying outside the gates to negotiate a better deal.

Jared Abbott from First Union says the Atlas workers are buoyed by support they have received from the public, including more than $3000 donated to the strike fund.

Wages are $2 to $4 an hour lower than nearby firms with fewer allowances or penal pay, but the workers were given a take it or leave it offer.

Mr Abbott says the strike is a sign of increasing industrial pressure as workers turn back to unions after years of low wage growth.

"Certainly our union has seen really fast growth over the last year or so. We are really seeing workers in general turning back to unions as an alternative because companies haven’t really come to the table to keep up with that share of profit," he says.

Mr Abbott says strikes are one of the few ways workers can get some balance of power in the workplace, and people shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for what they deserve.

JARED ABBOTT FULL INTERVIEW

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