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Union needs to answer some questions

News release
August 30, 2006

Union needs to answer some questions

Progressive Enterprises Limited (PEL) is pleased the National Distribution Union is finally going public on its discussions with the company.

The union has called a press conference for this afternoon and the company says this provides and opportunity for the union to answer some tough questions.

PEL managing Marty Hamnett says Foodtown, Woolworths and Countdown shoppers want to know why they are being severely inconvenienced by the union’s actions.

“First, I think our customers would like to know why they are being harangued while they shop. This dispute does not involve either shoppers or supermarket workers; the union should immediately desist its bullying tactics at our stores. This has occurred at a number of locations, including Foodtown Auckland Airport and Countdown Church Corner in Christchurch.

“Further, our suppliers would also like to know why they can’t go about their daily business delivering stock to our stores.

“Third, why is the union insisting on threatening the livelihoods of 18,000 PEL staff and their families for the benefit of only three per cent of our total workforce? And has the union considered the impact their strike will have on the members’ families who will soon start lining up at WINZ to claim emergency benefits?

“Next, how does the union justify rubbishing our calculations of a 30 per cent increase in our employment costs when this was shared with them during initial discussions and was not disputed by the union then?

“Fifth, why is the union so energetic in its protests and yet so lethargic in its efforts to get a solution to this problem? They claim they are too stretched to enter into discussions.

“Next, has the union got the unanimous support of all its members? Recent resignations would suggest a split amongst the membership.

“We believe there is a better way to resolve the situation and all we ask is that they come back to work and agree to negotiate the three separate contracts that are in place.”


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