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