Police illegally arrest and detain union officials

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, February 14th, 2016 - 47 comments
Categories: boycott, business, police, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

Its bad enough that workers’ rights and conditions are being crushed by National Ltd™ but now Police have joined in.  Again.

mike bush crushing unions

Two FIRST Union officials were illegally arrested and detained on trumped up trespass charges after they attempted to exercise their legal right of entry into the Nelson New World and Richmond Pak’N’Save. The arrests came despite NZ Police’s own advice to its officers that it has no role in blocking workers from accessing their union representatives.

Combined Trade Union Secretary, Sam Huggard, said yesterday that the “NZ Police’s staff magazine (February 4, 2005) issued advice to officers reminding them that ‘an employer may not rely on the Trespass Act 1980 to eject the union representative’ yet this is precisely what has happened.”

Police have confirmed the arrests but have nothing further to say. The actions speak loud enough.

While the Police action has sent a message from the state, FIRST Union plans to continue protests outside bothfirst union logo Nelson New World and Richmond Pak’N’Save today as part of a wider issue in relation to the supermarkets’ on-going refusal to engage positively in negotiations. FIRST Union official Rachel Boyack said the protest was to draw attention to the fact that collective negotiations at both supermarkets had stalled as Foodstuffs had refused to bargain over pay rates – which she saw as a fundamental part to any collective agreement.

“They seem to think they are somehow exempt from the standards of behaviour and the employment law that applies to all other employers,” she said.

If you’re in the area, join in the protests or do your shopping elsewhere until such time as the supermarket owners – Andrew Howard and Greg Guy – see the error of their ways.

47 comments on “Police illegally arrest and detain union officials”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    First Union probably can’t afford to sue the Police for wrongful arrest.

    They probably won’t need as much as it takes to buy a beach but…

  2. Penny Bright 2

    Why doesn’t the First Union organise a meeting with the Tasman District Commander of Police to discuss the LAW regarding the right of access of Union officials?

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  3. Well, the cops have always been clear about their place in the class divide. Despite being well remunerated and enjoying excellent working conditions precisely because they are unionised, they will happily put the boot into anyone else trying to do the same.

    However, I suspect the treaspass norice is unenforceable, because, as the posts notes, the officials were going about their lawful business.

  4. AmaKiwi 4

    The arrest goes into the central police computer which is then accessed by Five Eyes and used for travel clearance.

    When those falsely arrested try to travel (particularly in the USA), they are flagged as a security risks. They can NEVER find out why they were flagged. They can NEVER clear their names.

    Thanks to Homeland Insecurity even a completely false arrest carries punishment.

    Thank you, America for doing such a thorough job of “protecting freedom.”

    • why bother going to the usa in the first place – international travel is another extravagance shortly to be curtailed by biosphere limits unless you like a slow boat to…

      this abuse of these union reps is bad enough without bringing in the usa ramifications into it imo

  5. BM 5

    Did the Union get permission first or did they just walk on in?

    • They were granted permission when the Employment Relations Act came into force all those years ago.

      • BM 5.1.1

        I know nothing about unions so I googled and found this

        http://employment.govt.nz/infozone/businessessentials/employ/unions/

        According to the link, the employer must:

        Allow a union to access your workplace if union members, or perspective union members, work there. However, union representatives must seek your permission beforehand, which you cannot unreasonably withhold. They also must notify you of the reason for entry, act reasonably, enter at reasonable times, and comply with any procedures. If you decide not to grant access you must put your reason in writing no later than one day after your decision.

        Both you and the union must act in good faith to agree on a time for union meetings that suits both of you. The union must give you at least 14 days’ notice of the date and time of any union meeting. They must supply you with a list of members who attended a union meeting as well as advising you of the length of the meeting

        To me that means you can’t just bowl on up unannounced and have a union meeting, everyone has to find a time that’s acceptable to all parties.

        Why did the union think they could just walk on in and cause major disruption to this business and the people who were shopping there.?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1

          Why did the union think they could just walk on in and cause major disruption to this business and the people who were shopping there?

          Nope, you don’t know that. We do know they gave notice of the industrial action. Your malicious framing is to be expected, just don’t forget it says something about you, and nothing else.

          • BM 5.1.1.1.1

            Did they expect all the checkout operators and other staff were just going to stop work and have a meeting, that the shop owners would have no problem with this?

            According to that link I read, the union must give at least 14 days notice and provide a list of employees who will be present at the meeting.

            Did first union do that?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1.1.1

              The point I’m making is that you don’t know, and then you started off on a groundless rant against them anyway. So while the law talks about “good faith” you’re busy providing a perfect example of what that isn’t.

              Hostility based on weak assumptions makes BM a dull boy. And a liability to any business endeavour.

              • McFlock

                yep.

                Although BM has provided a nice example of the thought patterns of incompetent employers.

          • greywarshark 5.1.1.1.2

            I looked at the clauses that BM has put in italics and put them in a list with queries that arise about them. If these are from guidelines drawn from the clauses of the Employment Relations Act I think they do not adequately explain the Act’s intentions, or the Act itself is poorly drafted.

            This is the process that union must follow before being allowed access:
            The union must:
            1 Seek permission beforehand (warning cannot unreasonably withhold. (Me – Invitation to find some apparent reasonable denial.)
            2 Notify you of the reason for entry,
            3 Act reasonably,
            4 Enter at reasonable times, and
            5 Comply with any procedures
            6 Union to give 14 days notice of date and time of meeting.
            7 Also state the length of meeting
            8 And then a strangely worded sentence –
            They must supply you with a list of members who attended a union meeting
            (Why the word ‘attended’? The request is for a future meeting. So what meeting in the past does it refer to? The imprecision could allow delays and even trawling through attendance at any union meeting.)

            The employer must –
            If you decide not to grant access –
            you must put your reason in writing – no later than one day after your decision.

            Me: query – There is no set number of days stated for making that decision?
            Instead there is feelgood reference to good faith on both sides.
            Both you and the union must act in good faith to agree on a time for union meetings that suits both of you.

            The union must give 14 days notice and then wait for a decision for how long?
            And then argy bargy for times and individuals able to be released at those times.

            It is reasonable for the employer to have to consider future planning, cover times away with other staff, or jobs left till later, but it has been made a more cumbersome and potentially contentious matter by the poor legal drafting, which I think can only be on purpose. No clear thinking professional desiring clarity and honesty of outcome would draft such porridge.
            edited

            • Tracey 5.1.1.1.2.1

              It’s ambivalent to favour the kind of action that was just taken. This government and indeed many successive governments have been deliberately watering down worker rights. Ambiguity will always favour the monied and powerful.

        • greywarshark 5.1.1.2

          Allow a union to access your workplace if union members, or perspective union members, in BM at 9.26 am.

          This was in italics in the comment, and presumably has been copied from an information document. How come ‘perspective’ instead of ‘prospective’, which seems the correct word for the context. How can the proof reading of work put on employment.govt.nz let that pass? Lax.

        • NZSage 5.1.1.3

          “Why did the union think they could just walk on in and cause major disruption to this business and the people who were shopping there.?”

          Even if you we’re right (which you’re not) is this a criminal matter to be dealt with by the police?

          I don’t see too many police officers rocking up and arresting employers when they transgress workplace legislation.

      • Yes, thanks, both of you. I should have been more precise. The National government has weakened access provisions, but the principle remains that unions have ‘reasonable’ access.

        • Skinny 5.1.2.1

          This sounds suspect. I would say it is an area issue, I suspect some wink wink nudge nudge stuff is going on by the local anti Unions mob. Remember this is Peter Talley country where workers are treated like crap. The Nelson Bay region is one of the lowest income paying regions in New Zealand, just how the likes of Talley’s like it to remain.

          I have organised 2 pickets out front of 2 Pak n’ Save supermarkets, at the second one which was at Royal Oak in Auckland the cops contacted the supermarket manager and told him of the Talley’s boycott buying their products picket. The cops said they see no reason to come hassle us when we were going about our lawful right to protest.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2

      …and in either event, was issuing trespass notices a smart move on the part of the employers? Looks like useless legal advice to me: the Stuff story even has one of them talking about his “employment law specialists” 😆

      Anyway, it’s good of you to share your wish list.

      TRP: Technically they do need permission, although it can’t be unreasonably withheld, even by employment law specialists 😀

  6. John 6

    That’s nothing. The Christchurch police tried to arrest a ex cop who had just arrested Superintendent Gay Knowles on charges of perverting the course of justice in relation to his cover up of police forging documents for an employment matter and then lying for 5 years that they existed, only then to tell the Ombudsman THEY DIDN’T EXIST AND NEVER HAD.

    The ex cop used part of the Crimes Act that allows anyone to arrest a person who they know has committed any offence under the Crimes Act

    He was assaulted and forced to leave the building and then Commissioner Bush has let Knowles leave NZ.

  7. vto 7

    We are under heavy surveillance whereby everything is recorded.

    And we have a police force that does the government’s bidding.

    But yeah nah….. this is new zealand and that stuff doesn’t happen here …… nah yeah

    tra la la land

    • greywarshark 7.1

      We are a banana republic in a bad state! We haven’t even got bananas, all we have is pollies that go bananas quite often. Yes, we have no bananas, to go with our breakfast milk. And they are our favourite food.

      (For pedants – yes bananas can grow in Northland, and with heating from climate change may even make it as far south as Beehive land.)

      • vto 7.1.1

        there are plenty bananas growing on the south island west coast true – they just don’t ripen…

        the west coast has all sorts of good secrets that people don’t know about

  8. tc 8

    Nationals police enforcing the blighted future as always.

    • Skinny 8.1

      People in high places locally having an influence. Don’t be surprised Peter Talley is pulling favours!

  9. ropata 9

    FFS human rights under attack yet again, where is the NZ Herald crusade on this topic?

    They went mental about “nanny state” issues like lightbulbs & shower nozzles, but not a peep about *actual* police state shit like this and 5 eyes

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      The NZ Herald backed the bosses during the Waterfront Strike so pretty much they’re doing what they normally do.

  10. whateva next? 10

    The return of McCarthyism? inevitable when control of the masses is need, and curiously resonant with this speech 1958:

    “….It may be that the present system, with no modifications and no experiments, can survive….We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.”

    Oct 15th 1958 Edward R Murrow

  11. Ralf Crown 11

    Police in New Zealand has simply become the tool for the present government and its leaders to implement their instructions. They are instructed to raid the homes and families of dissidents on those with unsuitable attitude and opinions not suitable for the governments purpose. This is the hallmark of a dictatorship, a police force implementing political decisions and protecting the leadership from criticism.

    • ropata 11.1

      Perhaps it’s time for the Police to stop swearing allegiance to the Crown and instead vow to serve the people of Aotearoa?

  12. Unfortunately the police seem to attract followers of the political right. History proves this, Have a look at 1951 lock out ,and in the UK just remembered who’s side the police took in the East End London when Mosley and his thugs were marching and beating up workers on strike

  13. …the “NZ Police’s staff magazine (February 4, 2005) issued advice to officers reminding them that ‘an employer may not rely on the Trespass Act 1980 to eject the union representative’ yet this is precisely what has happened.”

    The Police work for the government, not for taxpayers. The relevant question here is whether the current government favours workers or employers – that isn’t a question that takes a lot of figuring out.

    • ropata 13.1

      Why the fuck do we even have a Police minister and why is the Police commissioner answerable to a sociopath like Crusher Collins.

      Police should be an agency of the Courts not politically manipulated bully boys.

  14. linds675 14

    my job has been threatened on many occasions but i have managed to get though because my friends non – union said he has been doing the job for 5 years its his job that he does well at who are you to offer me his job? because i am a union worker they want us gone first up they offer non union (iea) worker $1000 dollars a year if they work to 98% of the year with no time off they say this is to make sure there is productivity within the work force but this is not available to union workers at all so its a bribe to them for been non union then theirs the $35 a week iea payment then the we will give you more work hours than the union workers garenteed that you will not hear about from any body else for some reason? so whos telling porkes with the employment relations act ????

  15. Atiawa 15

    Relying upon the law will not solve issues of workplace access, good faith, fairness or even compliance. Workers need to act collectively and use that collective industrial power if they want to improve their terms and conditions of employment. Their unions have become largely bargaining agents which in itself becomes problematic unless there are agreements covering all workers in an industry and there is high union density.

  16. upnorth 16

    I am really sorry but govt does not send out arreat warrants. I am sick and tired of this nonsense….anyway from my experience some union officals should get arrested….scant disregard for parking spaces…well lampooned on other media sites.

    • Lara 16.1

      The post did not state that Government sends out arrest warrants.

      Where on earth did you get that idea?

      It was the owners of the business who called the police, who then arrived and arrested union officials.

      And you’re not sorry. So why say you are?

      You do understand that the law allows unions to access workers in the workplace, right?

  17. 10 Easy steps to fascism

    3. Develop a thug caste tick
    4. Set up an internal surveillance system tick
    6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release tick

    Well on our way I would say!

  18. Nik 18

    I cannot understand why the Union do not have a nation wide strike
    because this totally affects us all.

    Get off your arses you are all representing Union Members Nationally
    not just locally!!!

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