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Union Calls On DB To Withdraw Dismissal Notices

“Union Calls On DB To Withdraw Dismissal Notices And Act In Good Faith”

The Service & Food Workers Union is still waiting for Dominion Breweries (DB) to provide written assurances that:

1. The notices of termination to the workers are withdrawn.
2. The decision to make the workers redundant is off the table.

DB announced the closure of its Monteiths Brewery in Greymouth on March 22nd, which brought about a nationwide consumer boycott of all DB products.

The SFWU, who represents the Monteiths workers, does not believe the company is acting in good faith in its attempts to meet with the Union to discuss a reduced operation at the brewery while the clock is ticking on the workers’ employment (due to finish on 20 April 2001).

“The meeting called by DB in Christchurch today was a strategic attempt to discredit the union and shows further lack of good faith on the part of DB given the agreement to postpone the meeting last evening pending a full response from the company.”

“Until the dismissal notices are withdrawn, any discussions with the company about partial closures or restructuring is like trying to negotiate with a gun to the head,” says Union Organiser Bill Newton. “The original decision to close the Brewery was made without any consultation or negotiation with our members, the amended plan to have a limited operation has also been made without any consultation or negotiation with our members.”

“Our members are asking, if they were really genuine, why haven’t DB withdrawn the dismissal notices and come over to Greymouth to meet today with us. We have been available in Greymouth all day to meet, had the company given the assurances we’ve sought.”

The union is not saying that they won’t meet with the company.

“We believe that DB have failed to act in good faith in the process to date, they haven’t consulted, they have pulled out of a meeting at the last minute, they have literally locked our members out of their workplace. We need to see some change of attitude by DB, and this has not been forthcoming,” says Bill Newton “We want to get this dispute resolved without having to go to the Authority, but unless DB withdraw the dismissal notices, withdraw their decision and reinstate these workers we will be left with little alternative but to continue with legal action.”

Union members are very distressed by the company’s actions. Members of the union have been employed at the Monteiths site up to almost 30 years. The brewery is a big part of their lives and their community.

“It is disappointing to see a major corporation like DB putting themselves above the law on good faith and choosing to ignore employment contracts because it doesn’t suit them to comply.

“I am unsure as to why the company has made so many errors in regard to this matter given the resources it has at its disposal. DB’s latest actions are either as a result of incompetence at every level of the company or some unsuccessful strategy on their part to minimize the public relations disaster brought about by the closing of the Monteiths plant. Either way it is the workers who are suffering as a consequence of their actions.”

Bill Newton can be contacted on 025-464-972

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