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Another Supermarket has checkouts blocked

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Another Supermarket has checkouts blocked

WELLINGTON, 19 Sept. 2006

Monday night shopping turned crazy for staff and customers at Johnsonville Woolworths last night after a group of concerned consumers halted shopping for over half an hour.

Queues grew longer and longer as supervisors were called from checkout to checkout to respond to errors on eftpos machines and multiple requests to delete items from trolleys.

Calling the action a "trolley jam," group spokesperson David Cross said it was a symbolic protest "intended to show support for the striking distribution workers in Auckland, Palmerston North, and Christchurch who have been locked-out from their job for nearly four weeks.

"While we are 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.

This is the group's second "trolley jam" after also frustrating shopping at Woolworths Kilbirnie on Saturday morning.

Progressive Enterprises is a subsidiary of Woolworths Australia, in New Zealand it controls the Woolworths, Countdown, Foodtown, Supervalue and Fresh Choice supermarkets.

So far it has refused to negotiate with unions representing Progressive workers over their demands for a national collective accord and pay parity. 500 distribution workers continue to be locked out from work.

Mr 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".

Woolworths Australia is the largest retailer in Australasia. Last year its profits exceeded $1 billion.

The group's tactics included challenging the price of products and deliberately entering incorrect information on eftpos systems to slow down checkouts and send supermarket staff scrambling for assistance.

Mr Cross said more actions like last night 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

ENDS

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