Hobbit dispute sparks RWC fears

By Hayden Donnell

CTU President Helen Kelly says the EMA is using The Hobbit dispute as an opportunity to grandstand. Photos / AP, Mark Mitchell
CTU President Helen Kelly says the EMA is using The Hobbit dispute as an opportunity to grandstand. Photos / AP, Mark Mitchell

Bosses are calling for a guarantee the industrial disputes threatening to derail The Hobbit won't be repeated in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) employment manager David Lowe says he fears there may be strikes over World Cup pay and conditions.

"Some unions have already indicated they are lining up the Rugby World Cup for industrial action.

"It would be reassuring if the Council of Trade Unions would confirm now that it will not Hobbit the Rugby World Cup.

"Cool heads are needed to ensure we will work together next year to put the interests of New Zealand Inc. first."

CTU President Helen Kelly says Mr Lowe is using The Hobbit dispute as an excuse to grandstand again the union.

There are no plans to target the World Cup for industrial action, she says.

"He is winding up a serious Hobbit dispute. It is opportunistic.

"If he wants he can call me and we can set up a team - them and us - to make sure this is a great World Cup. If he wanted to do that, we'd jump at the chance."

It is impossible to guarantee there will be be no industrial action in an event that is still a year away, she says.

"Mr Lowe can't guarantee every employer in New Zealand won't have any problems during the World Cup, but he's asking the same of us. Workers are allowed to strike."

Ms Kelly says she has already met with Rugby World Cup 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden to discuss ways to get more workers volunteering at World Cup events.

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