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Split in Union as Strikers Return to Work

News release
September 4, 2006

Split in Union Membership as Strikers Return to Work

Forty-two of 93 workers on the union picket line at Progressive Enterprises’ Palmerston North grocery distribution centre have returned to work.

The company’s managing director Marty Hamnett welcomes the move which indicates the distribution union members simply want to get back to work.

“Distribution centre members currently earn an average $42,000 a year. Non-union staff members who are not involved in the industrial action are currently undergoing their wage reviews on a one-on-one basis.”

Mr Hamnett says the developments are encouraging for the sake of all the company’s 18,000 plus staff and their families, suppliers’ businesses and their staff, not to mention the 2.5 million customers who shop in Foodtown, Woolworths and Countdown supermarkets every week.

We are now reviewing operations at Palmerston North site in view of the returning employees.

“Our suppliers will also continue delivering directly to our stores in the area as they are doing across New Zealand. I sincerely thank them for the support they have shown in continuing to supply grocery products to more than 220 stores.

“We will not be held to ransom by industrial action on behalf of less than three per cent of our workforce on a picket line that is now getting smaller by the day.”

Mr Hamnett says the company is trying its level best to keep stock levels high but it is a logistical challenge.

ENDS

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