National Distribution Union and the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union
Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 2:30pm
Unions Launch "O900 Lock Out" Appeal - Auckland Delegate To Join Palmerston North Picket
A delegation of eleven locked out Auckland distribution workers will be leaving the 80 Favona St supply centre at 3.30pm this afternoon to join Palmerston North workers at the same time that unions launch the "0900 Lock Out" (0900 5625 688) appeal, says the National Distribution Union.
NDU National Secretary Laila Harré said that Auckland workers voted last night to send representatives to give support to the Palmerston North workers and called for the 0900 number to help cover rent and food bills and to alleviate the financial pressure to return to work.
"The Palmerston North Countdown, Woolworths and Foodtown distribution workers currently have the benchmark contract and are feeling the brunt of the company's bullying," she said. "But the locked out workers remain committed to achieving a national collective agreement despite pressure from the lock out seeing 10-12 workers starved into accepting the employer's demands since the lock out started."
Ms Harré refuted claims made by Progressive in a press release today and said that only about a third of distribution centre staff at this smaller centre were working and some of about half of those had been at work throughout the dispute.
"The DC is not operating at full capacity and the company is only able to do the little it is because it is prepared to starve workers into accepting its demands. It is a tribute to the determination of these workers and the support of their families, unions and communities that less than 20 of the 600 involved have returned to work on the employer's terms."
Laila Harré said a public and union appeal to collect funds for the locked out families had already received $40,000 in donations "but we need much more than that."
A donation line 0900 LOCK OUT (0900 5625 688) has been set up to allow the public to make $20 donations.