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Spotless Welcomes Court Decision

Spotless Welcomes Court Decision Confirming Union Strike

Spotless Services (NZ) Ltd has welcomed this week’s sensible decision by the Employment Court Chief Judge to dismiss the Service and Food Worker Union’s (SWFU) claim for $600 - $800,000 in reimbursed wages for its nine-day hospital service strike in June.

“It is a very sensible and pragmatic decision for industrial relations and employment law. It confirms an important principle, which is what the SFWU was trying to deny – that SFWU members were on strike,” said David Geor, Managing Director, Spotless.

“The SFWU had retrospectively argued that its striking members were eligible for full wages reimbursement for the period of the strike on the basis they had somehow been pre-empted from striking by Spotless’ health and safety lock out notices.

However, in his decision the Chief Judge recognised the reality of this dispute and concluded:

“There is little, if any, cogent evidence that employees would have withdrawn their strike notices at that time in the absence of threatened or actual lockouts. The evidence that strike action as notified would take place is more persuasive.”

“Our lockouts were only ever issued on health and safety grounds and in response to the SFWU’s strike notices,” said Geor.

Following the nine-day union action in July, Spotless remains confident about its relationship with its staff. “Spotless has been very encouraged with the constructive dialogue we have been able to achieve since the parties have sat around the table to discuss and negotiate the settlement,” said Geor.


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