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Supermarket checkouts blocked in symbolic protest

Supermarket checkouts blocked in symbolic protest

WELLINGTON , 16 Sept. 2006

In a show of support for locked-out distribution workers a group of concerned consumers halted shopping in a Wellington supermarket for over half an hour..

As many as 20 shoppers frustrated checkouts at Woolworths Kilbirnie causing some regular shoppers to abandon their shopping and try an alternative elsewhere.

The group challenged the price of products and deliberately entered incorrect information on eftpos systems to slow down the checkouts and send supermarket staff scrambling for assistance.

The disruptive action was used to highlight the plight of 500 distribution workers locked out in Auckland , Palmerston North, and Christchurch for over 20 days. The workers were locked out after a 48 hour strike, when Progressive Enterprises refused to negotiate over the issue of a national collective accord and pay parity.

Spokesperson David Cross said, "Progressive has denied a fair negotiation process based on good faith and is applying it's might on a vulnerable group of workers".

"While not located in a distribution centre, we want Progressive to know as shoppers we are part of the same chain in which these workers operate," he said.

Progressive is a subsidiary of Woolworths Australia, Australia's largest retailer with profits of over $1 billion. Union officials have accused Progressive of under-handed tactics in the course of the lock-out.

Progressive have offered pay-rises to workers who have not joined the strikers, and have been accused of bypassing the unions by sending contracts individually to the workers involved.

Mr Cross warned more actions were likely should the lock out continue. "Until Progressive commits to a fair and open bargaining process, events like today will continue in supermarkets around New Zealand."

Further information about the lock-out can be obtained from www.shelfrespect.org


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