“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.
Note: Picket is currently underway at the Bridgeman Plant, 55 Crooks Road, East Tamaki Contact: Robert Reid NDU National Secretary (021) 535 933