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First Pay Day With Nothing

First Pay Day With Nothing - Union Members Endorse Settlement Proposal

Press Release: National Distribution Union and the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union

Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 9.30am.

Workers Shelves Empty

A press conference will be held at the home of locked out distribution workers Senio Tevaga, his partner and co-worker Maree Fuimoono and her 7 month old daughter Memory, on the first pay day without money, at 12 noon at 26 Fopes Rd, Mangere where the family will discuss their circumstances and the new union settlement proposal, says the National Distribution Union.

Locked out union members at Progressive distribution centres in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch have endorsed the public release of their proposal to settle a national agreement and challenged the company to justify its continued claim that a settlement would add 30% to its wage bill.

Mr Tevaga, 27, said that "Progressive is disappointed that they aren't going to be making as much money with a some bare shelves. But when our shelves are empty we cant feed ourselves or our baby. Customers are lucky that they have the option of going elsewhere to shop," he said.

New Settlement Proposal

National Secretary of the National Distribution Union, Laila Harre says the release of this proposal shows that the unions are serious about achieving a fair and reasonable settlement.

"Locked out union members will today miss out on their first full pay cheque and they are rightly demanding that their employer justify its refusal to negotiate on their claims for a national agreement. It is not just the supermarket shelves that are empty. These workers are now surviving on the goodwill of their families, unions and communities."

"This proposal meets all reasonable concerns of the company. It allows different work arrangements in the different sites to be maintained. At the same time it addresses the differences in allowance income that can not be justified. It leaves plenty of room for negotiation on the method and timing of implementing increases."

Progressive Enterprises has attempted to justify a $40 pay gap between Auckland and Palmerston North and an $80 pay gap between Christchurch and Palmerston North on the grounds of differences in the operations.

"It is time that pressure was put on Progressive to show exactly how any differences justify this gap. The lock out is affecting many more than these low paid workers and their families.

"Thousands of working people are being harmed by the new and aggressive style of industrial relations this huge Australian company has introduced. Their absolute refusal to negotiate a national agreement and their willingness to use the most brutal form of industrial action to get their way is simply awful."

"We believe the company knows that this proposal will not increase costs by anything like the 30% it is claiming in its propaganda. We are challenging them to end their expensive misinformation campaign, release their detailed costings, and enter genuine negotiations to address any reasonable concerns they have with this proposal," says Laila Harré.

NDU/EPMU Proposal for a National Collective Agreement for the Progressive Distribution Centres

1. Wage Increase The union's original claim was for an 8% increase on the base rate and remains subject to negotiations. We have already indicated that a wage increase that maintains the real value of wages and also reflects the improved profitability of the company is appropriate.

2. Allowance Equity In order to achieve overall parity with allowances in Palmerston North (which increase hourly pay by up to to $2.50 an hour) an allowance equivalent to $2.00 per ordinary hour worked in Auckland and Christchurch which would replace the existing attendance allowance in Auckland.

3. Redundancy Equalisation A common redundancy formula for all three regions.

4. Annual Holidays The service holiday presently provided for at five years service is maintained after 1 April 2007 when the statute moves to four weeks minimum annual leave for all workers.

5. National Consultative Committee To promote good positive relations in the future the union is proposing a committee of employer and union representatives to meet quarterly at the expense of the employer to discuss matters of mutual interest.

6. Term of Agreement The duration of the agreement is to be negotiated along with the method and timing of implementation of the allowance equity claimed.

7. All other conditions currently contained in the three separate site agreements shall become schedules of the national agreement applying to the relevant sites.

*********

An automatic $20 donation can be made at 0900 LOCK OUT (0900 5625 688) Donations for the locked out workers can also be made out to the National Distribution Union at 02-0200-0217968-00 with the reference "Lock Out".

Locations of distribution centres:

Auckland 80 Favona Rd Mangere, Palmerston North Supply Chain on the corner of Mako mako Rd and Mihaere Dr, Christchurch Supply Chains on Shands Rd and Columbia St.

ENDS

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