Silencing workers – Tiwai Point
Silencing workers – Tiwai Point extends free speech prohibition to workers’ email.
New Zealand Aluminium Smelters has imposed an external email ban on workers, as it tightens censorship on site.
NZAS, which runs the smelter at Tiwai Point, has a gagging clause in its employment agreements prohibiting workers from speaking about the company publicly.
E tū organiser, Trevor Hobbs says NZAS has now issued a section of the General Manager’s internal blog , which details a ban on workers sending emails home and sharing information with outside parties via email.
He says members’ use email to keep in touch with him and to seek advice.
He said it’s believed the company is monitoring workers’ emails including their practice of sending emails home before sending them on to him, so they’re more difficult to trace.
Trevor Hobbs says this practice has now been explicitly banned, which is clearly aimed at choking off communication with him and the union.
He says: “I think it’s just another attempt by the employer against the union to prevent it getting itself firmly established on the worksite at Tiwai Point. This employer is really, really active in working against the union .”
“People surely are entitled to seek advice on any issue to do with their employment, and if people are denied that right, it’s not democratic.
“I think it’s a breach of human rights.”
E tū has previously expressed concern about employer tactics to silence workers, including the use of gagging clauses in employment agreements.
This latest bid to censor workers and restrict their freedom of speech follows a legal bid by AFFCO/Talley’s to shut down comment on social media by members of the Meat Workers Union – a move organiser Darien Fenton has called “a move into dangerous territory.”