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Foodstuffs SI To Pay Back Unlawful Deductions

Foodstuffs SI Ordered To Pay Back Unlawful Deductions Of Christchurch Workers

The Employment Relations Authority has found in favour of the National Distribution Union (NDU) and its members at two Christchurch distribution centres, after Foodstuffs South Island unlawfully suspended them during strike action.

Foodstuffs South Island has been ordered to pay back wages to the union members concerned, workers at the Papanui and Hornby distribution centres.

“The unlawful suspensions occurred after two lawful one-hour strikes in November 2009. The company decided to suspend strikers for three days, until they rescinded a resolution to take strike action,” National Distribution Union Southern Secretary Paul Watson said today.

“The Authority rejected the company’s argument. It thought that the company argument ‘flies in the face of commonsense.”

The Employment Relations Authority convened a hearing yesterday and today to consider the stalled collective bargaining underway between the NDU and Foodstuffs South Island, Paul Watson said.

“The big issue in the bargaining is the company’s refusal to negotiate about wages in the collective bargaining forum.”

“The company wants the right to set wages unilaterally by board resolution – including both bonuses and annual wage increases. The NDU and its members want good faith negotiations with the results included in an enforceable collective agreement,” he said.

The Authority will now consider what recommendation to make.

The company also faces a further hearing at which the union will argue that penalties (fines) should be imposed on the company for its misconduct.

ENDS

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