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Airport workers caught up in ‘Wash-up’ wrangle

Workers will be picketing outside Auckland Airport’s international terminal tomorrow in protest at the unfair treatment dished out to them by their employer, United Cleaning Services (UCS).

Around 60 ‘Wash-up’ workers (who clean the airline food trays) are being forced to reapply for their jobs. This is because the American company Caterair (who contract to Air NZ to supply meals for flights) is not renewing the United Cleaning Services contract.

The ‘Wash-up’ workers have no redundancy provisions and they fear that workers with high union profiles will not be re-hired. Caterair has taken an aggressive stand against workers who try to organise in the past, denying site access to union officials and resisting the negotiation of a union contract.

“The ‘Wash-up’ workers are very upset and angry that Caterair has not agreed to transfer their employment from UCS and will actively campaign for fairer treatment”, said SFWU National Secretary Darien Fenton.

“Workers at ‘Wash-up’ come from a wide range of minority groups and are in an extremely vulnerable situation.”

“They are good hard-working people struggling to feed and clothe their families, and they are distraught at the prospect of losing their jobs.” “All three parties involved in this unfair treatment of the ‘Wash-up’ workers – Air New Zealand, Caterair and UCS – are duckshoving from any responsibility towards these workers. This epitomises the problem with contracting out.”

“Everyone likes to blame the other party when things turn sour and the workers are left with nowhere to turn”, said Ms Fenton

The picket will be held outside the international terminal at Auckland Airport, tomorrow, Friday 17th September, from 1:30 – 2:30pm.

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