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Mediation scheduled this morning

Press Release: National Distribution Union, Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU)

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Mediation scheduled this morning Unions representing locked out distribution workers will file for an urgent injuction today to prevent Progressive Enterprises from running at least one secret distribution centre in Auckland, says the National Distribution Union.

The National Distribution Union (NDU) and the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) will file the application for an injunction in the Employment Court on behalf of the 500 locked out distribution workers who supply 150 Countdown, Foodtown and Woolworths - almost half of New Zealand supermarkets.

NDU National Secretary, Laila Harre said that union delegates employed by an Auckland logistics firm yesterday alerted the NDU to requests to perform work normally undertaken by workers who have been locked out from their distribution centre employment.

"The information contradicted the company's PR campaign which has claimed that suppliers have been delivering to stores themsleves," she said. "Investigations revealed that Progressive has engaged others to perform the work of its locked out staff." Engaging or employing other workers to perform the work of union members who are involved in industrial action is illegal under the Employment Relations Act. Meanwhile the unions are preparing to meet the employer in mediation today.

Laila Harre said workers were hopeful that progress could be made to today to allow negotiations for a national collective agreement to resume, but said that workers were not getting their hopes up too high.

"The daily escalation of this dispute by Progressive has been extraordinary," she said "At the moment Progressive are sending contradictory messgaes to the public and workers so we will do our best to engage in genuine dialogue today with the help of a mediator."

Yesterday 30 workers were threatened with tresspass from the Auckland Airport Foodtown after picketting the store in response to a tip off by supermarket workers inside that a temp workers may have been employed to help with the unloading of dry goods.


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