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GO Wellington strong-arms vulnerable workers

Wellington Tramways Union

September 24, 2008
Media Release

GO Wellington strong-arms vulnerable workers

GO Wellington’s decision to lock out more than 300 low wage bus drivers from 5.30am tomorrow morning is a disgraceful act of bullying, says the Wellington Tramways Union.

The lockout comes after union members took a one hour strike action this morning to protest the company’s refusal to provide a decent pay increase to drivers who are currently on just $12.72 an hour.

Wellington Tramways Union secretary Kevin O’Sullivan says the company’s lockout threat is a clear attempt to intimidate union members into submission.

“GO Wellington’s decision to lock out our members after just an hour of strike action is a gross overreaction that is clearly designed to bully our members into backing away from their claims for a fair deal.

“Wellington bus drivers earn close to minimum wage and in recent years have seen their hours cut and their real incomes fall by up to 19%. All we’re asking for is a fair wage so we can afford to live decent lives and provide for our families.

“The fact is $12.72 an hour doesn’t stretch very far these days, and the company knows the offer they’ve given us will barely even compensate for recent increases in the cost of housing, petrol and food.

“GO Wellington’s decision to lock us out means we are now literally locked out of the workplace without pay until the company decides to let us back, and they know that on the poverty wages they’re paying this will hit us and our families hard.

“This is a disgraceful act of bullying against low wage workers but we are determined to stand strong together and fight for decent pay. We hope the public will see this situation for what it is and support us in our actions.”

GO Wellington has advised the union that the lockout will begin at 5.30am tomorrow and continue indefinitely.

The lockout notice means GO Wellington can bar union members from the workplace without pay until they submit to the company’s demands.


A copy of the lockout notice follows:


TO: The New Zealand Tramways and Public Passenger Transport Employees Union Incorporated (Wellington Branch) 2nd Floor, 126 Vivian St, Wellington and BY EMAIL

AND TO: The Manufacturing and Constructions Workers Union (Inc) (Wellington Branch) 2nd Floor, 126 Vivian St, Wellington and BY EMAIL

This Notice of Lockout relates to bargaining for a collective employment agreement between The New Zealand Tramways and Public Passenger Transport Employees Union Incorporated (Wellington Branch) and the Manufacturing and Construction Workers Union Union (Inc) (“the Unions”) and Wellington City Transport Limited as initiated by way of notice received in or about May 2008

TAKE NOTICE that Wellington City Transport Limited hereby gives notice pursuant to s94 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 of its intention to lockout those employees named in Schedule A of this notice.

The period of notice given is at least 24 hours and shall commence for each Union on receipt of this notice by that Union and shall conclude at 5:30am on Thursday 25 September 2008.

The lockout will begin at 5:30am on Thursday 25 September 2008, unless this notice is earlier revoked in writing.

The nature of the lockout will be a complete and continuous discontinuation of the employment, including (without limitation) the requirement to perform any duties and the payment of any remuneration of those employees listed in Schedule A of this notice.

The lockout will occur at every place where the employees listed in schedule A of this notice would or might otherwise have been directed to work. The lockout will affect each and every service that Wellington City Transport Limited would otherwise have provided during the period of the lockout.

The lockout will continue at all times thereafter until Wellington City Transport Limited gives notice to the Unions that the lockout is lifted.

Wellington City Transport Limit will revoke this lockout notice (without limitation) on the occurrence of the earlier of the following:
a) Each Union lifts the strike notice which they have served on Wellington City Transport Limited and both Unions agree to resume bargaining; or
b) the members of the unions who are covered by the bargaining ratify an agreement which accepts the terms and conditions of employment set out in Wellington City Transport Limited’s offer to the unions dated 23 September 2008.

Dated this 23rd day of September 2008

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