Progressive Enterprises are being loose with the truth
Today will be the 10th day over 500 distribution employees of Progressive Enterprises have been locked out of their jobs - and what is their crime?
Progressive Enterprises Limited (PEL) will not let their employees come back to work until they abandon their claim for a national collective agreement. This is the central issue at the heart of this dispute, and thus represents an attack on the right of every employed New Zealander to negotiate a collective agreement.
According to National Distribution Union publicity officer Simon Oosterman, PEL are meeting with other supermarket workers this week to discuss their pay demands and had promised those on individual contracts pay rises. It is nothing but an attempt to deunionise supermarkets and put all workers on individual contracts.
The company have been extremly loose with the truth throughout this dispute. PE have consistently attempted to claim that the union demands amounted to a 30% payrise, when the claim is actually only for 8%, perhaps 10-12% at most, if other allowances are taken into account. PE have failed to substaintiate their farcial figures, leaving one to assume it is nothing but an attempt to scaremonger. They claim to be doing this for the benefit of their customers, yet reliable reports are starting to emerge of PEL supermarkets raising their prices while they attempt to fight the unions - and just what are their customers paying for?
Declaration of interest: I now have a new job - National Researcher at the National Distribution Union. That said this blog is purely a collection of my own personal opinions, and does not in any way represent the NDU.
I started at the NDU last Monday - and had a lockout to deal with on my first day. It has felt very much like an election campaign! My thoughts are totally with the locked out workers and their families.