Kawerau Pulp Mill and union workers agree on pay deal; lockout ends

updated By Stefan Dimitrof

Pulp and Paper Workers Union workers at Kawerau met today and accepted a pay deal recommended by the Employment Relations Authority.

This follows weeks of negotiations, disagreements and threats of legal claims before pulp and paper company Essity and the union accepted the deal this morning.

“It was the best deal seen on the table - that's why we accepted it,” Pulp and Paper Workers union secretary Tane Phillips said.

“Spirits were relieved and we're proud of the struggle and galvanised by the union members staying together.”

Work will return back to normal for the mill tomorrow.

The deal saw the workers gain a total of $7000 in lump sums over two years and a 5% increase in pay for 2022, plus a 4.5% increase in 2023 and a 4% increase in 2024.

Essity’s Kawerau general manager, Peter Hockley, said: “Reaching an agreement is in everyone’s best interests and allows work to return to normal at the mill.”

Essity had filed an unusual claim against the union and individual claims against all of their members but has now withdrawn all of its legal claims.

Essity manufacturing plant makes up 50% of the New Zealand toilet paper market and the rest is covered by international products.