Monday, July 23, 2007

They have taken untold millions...

It was already a good day. I'd gone to a support picket outside Spotless in Wellington, banged my bucket and made a racket. I'd gone on to collect for the lockout. The Brass Razoo Solidarity band were playing while we collected. There's nothing quite like collecting and leafletting while the sun shines and the Brass Razoo play solidarity forever. So I was already happy when I got a text message: "Great news about the lockout." I might have cursed this singularly uninformative text message, but luckily the radio immediately told me the details.

The court ruled that the lock-out was illegal, because the demand the company was making of the workers was illegal and interfered with the workers right to strike. The company said that it would lock-out all union workers in 13 DHBs, unless a certain number of workers in 10 of those DHBs agreed to work during the rolling strikes the company had planned. This was an extraordinary demand - in essence locking people out for not breaking their own strike. The company claimed people needed to stay for health safety reasons (but there were, apparently, no health & safety risks for operating on scabs during the lock-out). The union had met with the DHBs four months ago, and agreed that there was no need for members to stay back, as they were not performing life preserving functions (I would hope not on eleven dollars something an hour).

The Employment Court made the right decision, but there is much that needs to do. Spotless is still the only company that won't pay the national pay-scale. Spotless could lock workers out in two weeks, as long as they put a different reason on the lock-out notices.*

Please continued to donate money, and ring 0900 LOCKOUT. Tomorrow is payday for a lot of Spotless workers, and anyone who was locked-out won't receive anything and will have to go another week without pay.

* As hospitals are an essential industry two weeks notice are required of a strike or a lock-out.


  1. Yay!

    I hope they can get back-pay. And it's nice to see the legal system defending the right to strike for once :-)

  2. Funny, when I saw the headline for your post I thought you were talking about Cullen and the Labour Party.

  3. Anonymous5:58 pm

    Do you think it's reasonable for strikes to give the same 2 weeks notice?