October 4, 2005
Suspensions are illegal - union
The legality of the long-running suspension of Wellington engineering workers is being challenged in court.
Thirty of the 140 workers at Southward Engineering in Seaview have been suspended since September 9.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said that the union had today filed an application in the Employment Court seeking to have some of the suspensions ruled illegal.
“It appears to us that some of these workers were suspended for refusing to do the work of striking workmates,” he said.
Southward Engineering is New Zealand’s largest manufacturer of automotive exhaust systems. Workers at the company’s plants in Wellington and Auckland are seeking a five per cent pay rise. They have been offered a 4.25 per cent rise.
Mr Little said that at the time of the suspensions, there was a load-out ban in place involving a handful of workers at the Wellington plant.
“These workers have been suspended without pay for nearly four weeks. The company is refusing to come back to the negotiating table, and up until last Friday, wouldn’t even consider mediation.”
Southward Engineering was founded by Len Southward (owner of the Southward car museum) in 1938 and was bought by the Australian-based Atlas Group in 2004.