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Employer militancy grows: NDU Bridgeman lockout picket tommorow at 6AM

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Please note there is another picket at 6am on Thursday 17th at Bridgeman Plant, 55 Crooks Road, East Tamaki. Police presence likely as we block cement trucks again.

“An indefinite lock-out of workers by Bridgeman Concrete in Manukau City shows increasing employer militancy taking advantage of the recession and growing unemployment,” says Robert Reid, General Secretary of the National Distribution Union.

“The Bridgeman lock-out is an appalling example of an employer paying under industry rates with inferior redundancy agreements and trying to starve its workers into submission.  These workers are key for Auckland infrastructure projects and start work early every day while the rest of the country is asleep.  These guys are the battlers.  They are the unsung heroes who help build a better life for us all.  Yet they are shown no respect by an employer who will not even front up to the workers and hides behind his hired gun,” says Robert Reid.

More: Photos | NDU | Warehouse Profits at Expense of Workers during Recession

Other disputes: Polytech strike photos | For workers' control! - Lessons of recent struggles in the UK | Subway workers hold 'no fare' protest and strike in Buenos Aires | Organising the precariat in Israel-Palestine

Upcoming actions: EPMU Telecom picket on the corner of Ponsonby Rd and Hopetoun Street, Auckland at 7.30am Monday 21st September | NDU Bridgeman picket 6am on Thursday 17th at Bridgeman Plant, 55 Crooks Road, East Tamaki


Media Release

National Distribution Union

Wednesday 16 September 2009

“An indefinite lock-out of workers by Bridgeman Concrete in Manukau City shows increasing employer militancy taking advantage of the recession and growing unemployment,” says Robert Reid, General Secretary of the National Distribution Union.

 “This lock-out, of workers who have not taken any industrial action, will only be lifted by the employer if the workers agree to a wage freeze and no changes to their collective agreement for 2 years,” Robert Reid says.

 “This brutal employer action follows hard on the heels of a lock-out threat of NZ Bus drivers and cleaners in Auckland for “working to rule” and a proposed lock-out of dairy workers near Matamata who are trying to achieve their first Collective Agreement.

 “Employers are the first to attack unions for taking advantage of tight labour market conditions, but seem far more ready to use the lock-out tactic than unions use the strike when the boot is on the other foot.

 “While some employer leaders preach co-operation and industrial peace, many actual employers seem over eager to reignite the “class war”.

 “The Bridgeman lock-out is an appalling example of an employer paying under industry rates with inferior redundancy agreements and trying to starve its workers into submission.  These workers are key for Auckland infrastructure projects and start work early every day while the rest of the country is asleep.  These guys are the battlers.  They are the unsung heroes who help build a better life for us all.  Yet they are shown no respect by an employer who will not even front up to the workers and hides behind his hired gun,” says Robert Reid.

 For further information please contact:

Robert Reid, NDU National Secretary (021) 535 933

Comments

Open letter to the CTU

 

To: Helen Kelly - President NZCTUFrom: Patrick John O'Dea - Redundant Transfield EPMU DelegateSubject: Lockout flu spreads unchecked -  CTU campaign needed Earlier this year, when the swine flu  dominated the headlines, though dangerous I predicted that it would blow over, especially if the authorities took proper safeguards.At the same time I also predicted that like a contagious disease, the spreading use of lockouts would get worse if left unchecked. I felt then and still do that the growing readiness of employers to use lockouts needed to be addressed by the Combined Trade Union movement as a whole.I predicted that the rash of lockouts would grow, unless the CTU decided to act against them with a campaign for militant union wide solidarity actions.As I said then, any employer who reaches for the lockout weapon needed to be smacked down hard to discourage others.Employers have just announced twice in one day, their preparedness to use this once rare tactic against dairy workers and concrete workers.http://business.scoop.co.nz/2009/09/16/employer-militancy-grows/Added to these two new lockouts, is the threatened lockout against the bus drivers. Also the Telecom campaign to dismiss and starve out of their network engineers, employed by their subcontractors Downers and Transfield untill these workers agree to take jobs at much reduced wages and conditions with their new front company Visionstream. Is also a lockout in all but name. (The Telecom campaign gathered pace last week, when Transfield closed the gates on another 200 engineers.)http://business.scoop.co.nz/2009/09/16/employer-militancy-grows/Individual worksites and unions are almost powerless in the face of lock outs. As the Progressive Enterprises dispute showed, only a CTU wide call for wide solidarity from all affiliated unions can blunt this sort of attack on working people and their families.I think that a mass union campaign against lockouts needs to be mounted again.I think we need to deal with this growing emergency before it becomes an epidemic.I would like to suggest a mass rally of all trade unionists be called outside one of the guilty employers on a Saturday, to reopen the gates, and get the workers back inside.I would like to suggest that with the agreement of the NDU, that Bridgeman Concrete be the first target for such a Combined Trade Union campaign.Because:A. The Bridgeman lockout was completely unprovoked.B. The Bridgeman lockout is the one that is presently ongoing now.