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Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Zealand's Worst Employment Contract- Protest Saturday!

SATURDAY, 11AM, PROTEST NEW ZEALAND’S WORST EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT – AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Unite Union is welcoming the government’s intention to provide moreprotection for casual and part-time employees. If it’s followed through itshould mean big improvements for workers employed under New Zealand’s worst employment contract. This contract covers workers in the foodcourt at AucklandInternational Airport. This year most of these workers received a 6% cut in paywhen the company cut standard shift hours from 40 to 37.5 hours per week. Thesecuts included workers who have worked at the site for many years. “These workers should be permanent but their contract treats them as casual with nofixed or guaranteed hours of work” says Unite Union National Director MikeTreen. “They don’t even have a finishing time for their shifts – just astart time”.The proposed new law will be welcomed by the union. “We are negotiating withthe company for a collective agreement but the changes they are offering so farare peripheral.” Workers took strike action 2 weeks ago and are consideringfurther action at union meetings this week.

BACKGROUND
Features of the contract include:

• Workers have a start time but no finish time. A worker could work for 1hour or 10 hours. Staff sent home early have no compensation for lost hours. Thecompany says "…the shift finishes when the supervisor releases the worker".This archaic attitude to workers runs through the whole employment relationship.

• There are no secure hours of work whatever. Even staff who have worked anaverage of 38 - 40 hours over several years are not given permanent positionsand have no guaranteed income.

• Over the years workers have repeatedly worked for up to 7 hours with nobreak whatever.

• The company has now agreed to workers working no more than 3 hours withouta break and have put in 15 minute breaks. However the company this year reducedthe average shift length to 7 1/2 hours so they don't have to give two 15 minutepaid breaks. This has also meant a 6% cut in pay for most employees.

• These workers are all on the minimum wage or a small amount above ($12.00to $13.25)• Workers can be rostered for up to 10 days in a row without consultation.The company running this contract is a joint venture between two high profileand very profitable companies - the Host Marriot Services Corporation andAuckland International Airport Limited. Unite Union has written to the AucklandCity Council and Manukau City Councils (these councils are shareholders inAuckland Airport) urging them as shareholders in AIAL to pressure to airport company to give these workers a fair go.

Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union - Ph 029 525 4744

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