Information - Plastics

Information - Plastics News


The EPMU's Plastics Industry is the section of the EPMU that represents 3800 New Zealand workers from areas including blow moulding, injection moulding, extrusion, rotational moulding, and flexible and rigid packaging and printing in industries ranging from the rural sector through to food packaging.

Members in the plastics industry work together as unionists to improve our working lives.

Our goals are practical and are focussed on:

  • increasing membership strength
  • improving health and safely
  • increasing the influence we as members have over our working lives
  • increasing our role in securing the future of the industry

Growing union membership and greater bargaining power are the keys to our goals.

Industry Council

Members in the industry have a direct say in the direction of the union through the Plastics Industry Council, a council of delegates brought together annually to recommend the direction for the union in the industry. In 2008, the council meets on 19 and 20 May.


  • Total workforce in the plastics industry: 8,000 (estimated)
  • Total EPMU members in the plastics industry: 3,800 (actual)
  • Union density: approximately 47% of workers in the industry are unionised

The Plastics

The main agreement in the plastics industry is the Plastics Industry Collective Agreement, covering 50 companies and over 1,000 workers. This agreement sets the industry standard and influences the going rate in the industry, even among non-union workers.


The union has two seats on the executive of the Plastics and Materials Processing Industry Training Organisation (PaMPITO), with ongoing work on strategy and encouraging industry training.

Industry development

The industry has identified a goal of increasing its turnover from the current $2billion per annum to $4billion per annum by 2015.

To achieve this it will need to employ more staff and invest in more training. At the same time, the industry faces challenges of globalisation and of the impact of climate change.

The union is engaging with the industry employers to ensure that organised labour is a key part of the development of the industry.

Why join?

The EPMU's Plastics agreement gives workers bargaining strength and decent pay and conditions across the entire industry. Workers covered by the Plastics get decent wages, skill-based pay that gives nationally recognised qualifications with pay increases attached, conditions for breaks and holidays superior to the Holidays Act, and penal rates for overtime.

EPMU members in the Plastics industry also get input into training and the ability to engage with employers about the future direction of the industry.

International affiliations

Plastics workers in the EPMU are affiliated internationally with the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) and the International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF).