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Posties threatened with sack for wearing uniform

Posties threatened with sack for wearing uniform

NZ Post has threatened to discipline Posties for "serious misconduct" if they wear their uniforms at the Wharfies picket this week.

"Serious misconduct" is seen by NZ Post as an issue that could result in being dismissed. Their organiser Mike Treen was also accused of "inciting" his members to breach their employment agreement which NZ Post claims is a breach of the Employment Relations Act.

The threats came in retaliation for a memo from Mr Treen to PWA delegates urging them to encourage members to join the Wharfies picket in Auckland after work. The fax to delegates pointed out that Posties have also suffered similar casualisation that the wharfies are protesting and "a victory for the Wharfies will help us as well". It was suggested they wear their uniforms "to allow us to identify each other on the picket" said Mr Treen.

NZ Post Employment Relations Consultant Sally Beard issued a memo instructing Branch Leaders to brief staff they were not to wear their uniforms to the picket. The memo claimed "the uniform is only to be worn whilst carrying out NZ Post business". It warned that "Using company property, including uniform, for personal purposes (ie to support strike action by the Maritime Union) or any actions that may bring NZ Post into disrepute may constitute serious misconduct and will be treated accordingly."

Mr Treen said Posties have always worn their uniform while carrying out personal purposes such as shopping or visiting a doctor on the way home. They have also been worn when giving solidarity to other workers in previous disputes without objection from NZ Post.

Moreover NZ post claimed in a recent dispute that they didn't have to pay Posties who used their car to return to the depot when they finished their postal run as Posties were free to do what they liked after they had delivered their last letter. "NZ Post can't have it both ways" said Mr Treen.

Mike Treen
Unite Inc / Postal Workers Federation

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