NCR strike to spread to Victoria

Industrial action involving field service engineers from technology vendor NCR will spread to Victoria this weekend, after up to 90 staff walked off the job yesterday in three other states. Up to 40 Victorian staff will strike for four days from Saturday morning, according to the Australian Services Union (ASU), which is coordinating the action.

Industrial action involving field service engineers from technology vendor NCR will spread to Victoria this weekend, after up to 90 staff walked off the job yesterday in three other states.

Up to 40 Victorian staff will strike for four days from Saturday morning, according to the Australian Services Union (ASU), which is coordinating the action. The dispute centres on pay levels.

Staff from New South Wales (NSW) will return to work next Monday 20 March, the ASU's NSW and ACT Services branch secretary Sally McManus said in a phone interview today with ZDNet Australia, with staff from South Australia and Queensland returning to work tomorrow and Thursday 16 March respectively.

Although the ASU claimed the strike could cause chaos to IT systems at airports, banks and educational institutions around the nation, with McManus saying some banks' ATM machines had already broken down, NCR customers have so far remained unconcerned.

"We don't believe it will have any impact on our ATM network," a spokesperson for the Commonwealth Bank said. "They [NCR] only do major hardware problems, most of our day to day servicing is done by our staff and other providers."

"It's not really a material issue for us in that I think only 20 of our 15,000-16,000 ATMs are impacted by that industrial action. So I think we're quite confident the impact on our customers will be quite minimal," said a spokesperson from ANZ Bank.

Although McManus said minor delays had occurred at Sydney Airport last night due to a broken ticketing machine, Qantas passed on any blame to its suppliers.

"We don't have a direct relationship with NCR. I believe some of our suppliers do work with NCR, but they've all assured us that we won't be in any way affected and there won't be any disruptions," a spokesperson for the carrier told ZDNet Australia in a short phone interview.

In an e-mailed statement, NCR reiterated that it had "implemented a range of contingency measures to ensure that we continue to provide high levels of services to our customers," and would continue to do so in the face of any new industrial action in Victoria.

"We can confirm that services to our customers continue at near normal levels," the company said.

McManus said morale among the striking staff was "really high" and they were resolved to continue with the action.

"We will need to escalate towards the end of the week if there's still no movement from the employer," she said.

"We're planning a picket outside their North Sydney head office. That'll probably be later on in the week."