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NZ Post accused of contempt and intimidating staff

NZ Post has been accused of a contempt for the law and intimidating staff.

"That is why the company was found to have breached the Employment Relations Act over the industrial action last year" says Postal Workers Association organiser Mike Treen.

"This was a limited action of not delivering some non-essential mail. Posties wanted to take an action that would have minimal impact on customers while still putting pressure on the company.

"When Posties returned to work the next day they were presented with pre-dated suspension notices that meant they weren't being paid for the whole of the previous day worked. Not just the time when restricive action was being taken out on the delivery rounds - but also the time worked normally in the delivery branch sorting the mail.

"It seemks a bit silly to call this a 'secret' strike or 'sabotage'. All strike action is secret until it happens unless you work in an essential industry. It's no different from a "go slow" or "work to rule" in a factory which the company doesn't immediately know what's happeneing. When they find out they have the choice of suspending or locking people out from that point.

"It is now six weeks since the decision and the staff have still not been paid and the company refuses to tell us when they will be paid for the time worked last year.

The Postal Workers Association has also complained about the company's refusal to abide by the law over the payment of relevant daily pay for sick leave. "The law is clear", says Mr Treen. "Sick leave should be calculated including average overtime worked. The company refuses an only pays rostered hours. The Labour Inspectorate has supported our understanding. Yet the company refuses to change it's policies and in fact refuses to answer any communication we send.

"They have also failed to supply time and wage records when requested despite the law being clear on their obligations.

"We have another court case asking the company to meet its obligations to pay Posties for the use of their vehicles while on NZ Post business. Posties get 62 cents a kilometre for using their cars on NZ Post business. But if they are sent on a delivery round and they end up further away from home than they would have if they were leaving for home from the branch NZ Post won't pay for the extra distance.

"Posties are subjected to the strictest regime I've ever encountered. There appears to be a permanent reign of intimidation. Disciplinaries are taken against Posties for the slightest errors. Warnings are issued for one or two occasions of lateness or failure to call two hours before work starts to say they are going to be sick. We have had had workers sacked or disciplined for trying to restrict excessive overtime. These are people working 6 days a week - rain or shine - for $12-$13 an hour - little more than the minimum wage.


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