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All We Want For Christmas Is Overtime Rates, Say Lion Distribution Workers

The workers who handle the distribution of products from Lion’s famous ‘Pride’ brewery in East Tāmaki, Auckland, are locked in industrial action with their employer in the lead-up to Christmas. The strike comes after their union, FIRST Union, closes in on several months of collective bargaining with MOVe Logistics, which contracts to Lion, without resolution.

The workers are seeking overtime rates, which are an industry standard in logistics. The last company that held the distribution contact with Lion paid them, but when the contract was awarded to MOVe earlier this year, the workers lost their overtime premiums.

"These workers have been made victims of a cynical race to the bottom on wages and it’s totally unacceptable," said FIRST Union spokesperson Neil Chapman.

"To suffer a real-wage decrease like this at a time when the cost of living is at a record high is a major blow," said Mr Chapman. "The fact that they’re withdrawing their labour and foregoing being paid just before Christmas, a very expensive time of the year, shows how genuine they are - this is about what’s right, it’s about fairness."

"The best Christmas present the MOVe workers and their whanau could get this year is a resolution to this dispute," said Mr Chapman.

FIRST Union delegate Piilua Tuaimalo said, "We’re all hard workers and most of us have families to support. It just feels so wrong that we can lose out over a decision that was totally out of our control. Why are we being punished? We just want MOVe to do the right thing."

"Striking was a last resort for us and it’s extra hard to be doing it just before the holidays, but we had to take a stand," said Ms Tuaimalo.

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