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Unite files harassment claim against Ak Airport

10 July 2008

Media Release:

Unite files harassment claim against Auckland Airport over

New Zealand's worst employment contract

Unite Union has filed a claim with the Employment Relations Authority regarding harassment of union members by senior management and supervisors at Auckland Airport.

Since union members have engaged in industrial action to get changes to the company's medieval contract with foodcourt employees the company management has embarked on a campaign of bullying and intimidation of union members.

This is not new to our members but it has escalated recently. The actions we are complaining of include -

* Union members being told they would be denied roster changes because they have taken strike action * Members being declined preferred shifts because they have taken strike action * Members accused of acting against non-union members * Members being "actively encouraged" to resign from the union by supervisors and management * Staff being told preference would be given to non-union members

The company has a long history of anti-union behaviour and this is a key reason for the "worst employment agreement in New Zealand" continuing in force.

The harassment has become so great that there are several staff who have joined the union but are "secret members" because they don't want the negative company behaviour which goes with union membership.

We have asked for an urgent ERA hearing to discuss this matter.


Features of the contract include:

* Workers have a start time but no finish time. A worker could work for 1 hour or 10 hours. Staff sent home early have no compensation for lost hours. The company says "...the shift finishes when the supervisor releases the worker". This archaic attitude to workers runs through the whole employment relationship. * There are no secure hours of work whatever. Even staff who have worked an average of 38 - 40 hours over several years are not given permanent positions and have no guaranteed income. * Over the years workers have repeatedly worked for up to 7 hours with no break whatever. * The company has now agreed to workers working no more than 3 hours without a break and have put in 15 minute breaks. However the company this year reduced the average shift length to 7 1/2 hours so they don't have to give two 15 minute paid breaks. This has also meant a 6% cut in pay for most employees. * These workers are all on the minimum wage or a small amount above ($12.00 to $13.25) * Workers can be rostered for up to 10 days in a row without consultation.


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