Monday, 20 September 2010

Post earthquake ‘Tour of Shame’: 2 down, 2 to go

The threat of a picket and bad publicity was enough to pressure brand-conscious Subway to lean on it’s biggest Christchurch franchisee and get them to “do the right thing” and pay their staff for time lost in the wake of the earthquake.

Reading cinema too, called for negotiations with Unite, so we didn’t picket them either. Although their change of heart was late enough that the leaflets (below) had already been printed.

That left Garden City Bowls (pictured) and ISS First Security. Will one picket be enough? Or will we have to come back on bowling night?

[Text of leaflet issued by Unite Christchurch]


The city has been rocked by a 7.1 earthquake and 100s of subsequent aftershocks the workers of our city have been forced to work whilst others have been left out of pocket. The Government announced a pay subsidy that would assist small businesses and pay affected workers over $300 per week until their business was up and running. The pressure was put on the bigger businesses in our city to step up and follow suit, covering lost earnings and offering counselling.         

Unite Union has called a tour of shame to highlight those businesses that chose to put profit before the welfare of their workers!

AMF Garden City Bowl:
Workers have been left out of pocket. The company has failed to pay for lost hours during the site closure leaving staff with little option but to cash in what annual leave they have. Garden City Bowl is part of AMF, a multi-national business more than big enough to support their staff during this difficult time.

ISS First Security:
Workers were forced to work during the weekend of the quake. Some staff had no choice but to bring their children to the workplace when they had no idea if the building was safe. Unite organiser’s were denied access to the worksite to speak to members.  When we spoke to them outside the workplace they were clearly distressed and unhappy to be there. It also took 5 days for the company to offer counselling services.

Reading Cinema:
Workers initially received pay for the hours they were rostered to work.  But this only lasted for the first 5 days. The staff were then told they would have to use what little annual leave they have to cover any lost earnings. In direct comparison Hoyts cinemas were quick to announce they would cover any affected staff for up to 30 days! Come on Reading, where’s your community spirit?!

We all want to see Christchurch get back to normal. The vast majority of businesses in the city have acted remarkably, it’s disappointing that there are a handful of individual businesses that have let their workers and our community down.

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