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100% Vote to Continue Strike Nationally

Press Release: National Distribution Union/ Engineers, Printing and Manufacturing Union

Sunday, August 27, 2006

100% Vote to Continue Strike Nationally

Palmerston North and Christchurch distribution workers have joined Auckland in voting unanimously to continue strike action at Progressive's Supply Chain until Monday at 12 noon, says the National Distribution Union.

Workers voted to continue the strike as they turned up for their next shift at 5am this morning and will decide the next step in the ShelfRespect.org campaign at meetings on Monday at lunchtime.

The Auckland distribution centre voted unanimously to continue their strike in response to Progressive suspending workers from the Palmerston North site.

Workers voted during a noisy public rally involving neighbors of the worksite, local councilors, family members, meat packing and supermarket workers from Progressive and officials and members from the EPMU, SFWU and Unite union.

Workers at the two Christchurch stores have also been suspended indefinitely pending an "unconditional" return to normal work duties.

National Advocate and Auckland Organiser Stan Renwick said that despite the company escalating the dispute, workers confidence remained high and local support had grown from constant tooting and waving from armchairs on porches to cash donations and food.

"This strike has become much more than a fight between distribution workers and Progressive, it's becoming a fight between the communities of Mangere, Palmerston North and Christchurch and $1.1 billion dollars of Australian profit," he said.

Daphne a packer in the Auckland store said that “kids are holding our signs and jumping up and down even though their mum and dad don’t even work here.”

Shayne a dispatch worker said that “neighbours have been giving us food even though trucks, cars and vans have been tooting non-stop outside of their homes since I first joined the picket two days ago. Some dude just dropped off some apples and another lady gave us some chips for morning tea, now we’re just waiting for someone to give us some sauce.”

And workers have been returning the support.

In a show of solidarity with Unite union - who have donateda bus, driver, sound system and moral support to the strike - twenty distribution workers joined striking Unite Sky City cinema workers on Queen Street last night in demanding an end to youth rates, a $12 minimum wage and secure hours.


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