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The Bridgeman Concrete lockout ends successfully

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 pm, October 8th, 2009 - 14 comments
Categories: activism, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: ,

The Bridgeman Concrete workers locked out for nine days hardened their picket last week. Two concrete trucks couldn’t leave the depo, costing the company $3,000 in ruined concrete.

The company responded by caving in, and lifted the lock out.

As well as lifting their lockout Bridgeman also conceded to workers’ demands for a fairer redundancy agreement that does not allow them to discriminate against union members (the original cause of the dispute). The employer has agreed for the first time to redundancy payments and full consultation with the NDU if planning redundancies.

It is a sad fact of our unfair labour laws that Although lockouts are legal and companies can sometimes get away with hiring scab labour, effective picketing is not permitted. Sometimes though, getting a little bit militant to level the playing field works.


In a comical footnote; Bridgeman Concrete has sent the bill for the ruined concrete to the union.

I wonder if they will try to Baycorp them?

Bridgeman Concrete just might find that the last laugh will be on them, because Baycorp has recently been unionised by the Unite union, who are very close allies of the NDU, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if all the paperwork accidentally slipped down a crack behind some desks.

All power to the gumboot.

14 comments on “The Bridgeman Concrete lockout ends successfully ”

  1. BLiP 1

    Once again – the only effective communication with business is via the bottom line.

  2. rocky 2

    Well done to the NDU and everyone involved. I love seeing effective action being taken when necessary 🙂

  3. What do you mean “effective picketing”? Threats of violence and other intimidation?

    • Daveo 3.1

      I’m guessing he means stuff like blocking goods from entering the premises to shut the properly shut the company down in the event of a lockout.

      Could also be talking about the fact that it’s illegal for workers at other firms to strike in sympathy.

      Bit sensitive there Graeme.

      • Sensitive? No.

        I just think the (implicit) call for a law change that would allow “effective” pickets is a little short-sighted … what happens when someone tries to cross a picket to deliver or remove goods? There’s pretty much only one of of stopping them, and I’m rather glad I live in a society which makes that illegal.

        Could also be talking about the fact that it’s illegal for workers at other firms to strike in sympathy.

        I don’t see that as a likely interpretation at all. “Effective striking” or “effective industrial action” might make sense in referring to such circumstances, but when you use the word “picketing” I think it’s clear what’s being proposed.

        On the question of sympathy strikes, do you consider that sympathy lockouts should also be permissible?

        • Pascal's bookie

          By the same token, wouldn’t there be pretty much only one way of crossing a picket?

          • Graeme Edgeler

            I suppose so. Just like crossing a road. Look left, look right, look left again and then place one foot in front of the other in a repetitive fashion.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Thing about the looking both ways is, you then wait till the way is clear before proceeding on the one foot after the other business.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2

      And lawyers never send intimidatory letters ? or use the courts to tie organistaions up in expensive court proceeding

  4. Tom Semmens 4

    “…What do you mean “effective picketing’? Threats of violence and other intimidation?”

    Oh Noes! The prols are standing up to the bosses! We can”t be having that!

    It seems everytime you post these days Mr. Edgeler you move further to the authoritarian right. Tell me, do you have a daily legal beagle coffee with Stephen Franks nowadays or something?

    • whatever.

      At every unionised workplace I’ve ever been at I’ve joined the collective. I just don’t think violence is good way to solve problems – whether they be industrial disputes or any other kind.

      • snoozer 4.1.1

        I think ‘violence’ is overstating it. They just stood in a line in a public thoroughfare.

        • Graeme Edgeler

          They did. Yes.

          I was commenting about the seeming lament for better days past when “effective picketing” would have been allowed.

          I wasn’t accusing this picket of being violent.

  5. Simon 5

    The lockout cost the company $600,000 on the first day due to a lost contract.

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