Joe Hendren

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Progressive Enterprises butchers wages...again

What: Picket outside Countdown HQ
Where: 29 Byron Street Sydenham
When: Today (Monday 16th of October)
Time: 4pm to 6pm

Progressive Enterprises Butchers Wages...Again!

Following a 26 day lockout by their employer, Progressive Enterprises, distribution workers supplying Countdown supermarkets finally won pay parity, and as a result the lowest paid Christchurch workers will gain a 19.7% pay increase by 2008. Supermarket workers gained increases between 4.25% and 5% in their settlement with Progressive.

Workers at the Southmore Meat Processing Plant (near Burnham) continue to battle Progressive to gain a fair pay increase.

Progressive refuse to acknowledge these workers are part of the meat industry and therefore ought to be earning wages similar to others working in the industry. Despite working in a beef boning room Progressive claim they are 'supermarket workers'. Southmore supply the local market whereas the larger and better paying meat plants supply for export - yet where do the exports go? They get packaged up for supermarkets overseas!

The National Distribution Union and the Meat Workers Union are working together on the campaign. Shelfrespect Supporters is a group of concerned community organisations, unions and individuals who supported the locked-out workers. We now want Progressive to give the meat workers a fair go.

The union is seeking a 12% pay increase, which would take workers up to $15.50 an hour. It would be the first step towards pay parity with other workers in the industry who earn an average of $20 an hour. Progressive are offering a miserly 3.5% pay increase, the same as the initial offer to the supermarket workers. The meat workers at Southmore took a week long strike in July and another short strike in September.

The 'Progressive' dispute is not over. We need to put public pressure on the company to give these workers a fair go.

Feel free to bring banners and anything with a meat industry theme (meat grinders, cow bells. etc). The more imaginative the better!

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