Press Release – First Union
Would you like a serving of unethical business practice with that salad?
Summer isn’t far off and the tomatoes are just about ripe for the picking for the BBQ season but…
Come Monday (24/09/2018), over 100 mainly tomato hot-house gardeners and distribution workers will walk off the job for 24 hours (4am Monday 24th to 4am Tuesday 25th) over bleak pay and the company refusing to come to the table to address worker’s concerns.
Workers at the nine striking sites will also picket each main site; the five Auckland sites gathering at the Favona site and an individual picket at every other site outside of Auckland (Ohaupo, Reporoa, Palmerston North and Christchurch). The pickets will begin at 7am, media are invited to attend.
Bargaining began in February with FIRST Union workers seeking a national agreement to save time and money for both parties and a raise to the Living Wage due to the unlivable pay packets workers are currently struggling to survive on (most workers are currently on minimum wage or just above this). However the company is refusing to return to the negotiation table unless workers agree to abandon talks over a national agreement.
This is the same company that just last year attempted to defend its belief that irrigation water was suitable drinking water for its workers. FIRST Union and the workers eventually won the right to a supply of safe drinking water to the parched workers.
FIRST Union lead organiser Denise Roche says it’s disappointing the company hasn’t learnt its lesson.
“It’s basic human dignity that most children are taught. Turners & Growers needs to be reminded to respect and value its workers. That’s what this strike’s about; respecting human dignity and valuing hard-working people.”
Ms Roche says it’s also a prime example of why employment law legislation on the duty to conclude is so desperately needed by workers.
“The company has no respect for workers’ concerns, the duty to conclude means employers such as T&G must talk with workers on all of their concerns, not only the ones the company wishes to speak about.”