Workers have legal right to rally
Employers who refuse to let workers attend today’s mass rally in Christchurch are breaking the law, says the country’s largest union.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union South Island director Ged O’Connell said that some employers had said they would not release workers to attend the 1pm rally at Addington raceway, despite being given the required 14 days’ notice in writing.
“Some employers appear to be stuck in the 1990s and think that workers don’t have any rights,” he said.
“They think that they don’t have to comply with the law.”
Under section 26 of the Employment Relations Act, workers are entitled to four hours of off-site stop-work meetings a year, and their wages must not be docked.
Some 2000 workers are expected to attend today’s meeting, called to discuss the EPMU’s Fair Share – Five in ’05 campaign for a minimum pay rise of five per cent for all working people.
Mr O’Connell said that in many cases, workers whose bosses told them that they couldn’t go would just walk off the job. The union would take any legal action necessary to ensure that they were paid.
Yesterday, 3000 workers held a similar rally in Auckland.