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Unite members on strike over country's worst employment agreement
Workers employed in the foodcourt at Auckland International Airport took strike action on Saturday 7 June against New Zealand's worst employment contract.
Unite National Director Mike Treen says the contract is appalling. "It's the worst contract we've ever seen. It's positively medieval," he said.
"These workers are vulnerable workers in the first place. They are mainly Maori, Pacific and recent migrants. They deserve a fair go."
Features of the contract include:
- Workers have a start time but no finish time. A worker could work for one hour or 10 hours. Staff sent home early have no compensation for lost hours. The company 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 whasotever. Even staff who have worked an average of 38 - 40 hours over several years are not given permanent positions and have no guaranteed income.
- Over the years workers have repeatedly worked for up to 7 hours with no break whatsoever.
- The company has now agreed to workers working no more than 3 hours without a break and have put in 15 minute breaks. However the company this year reduced the average shift length to 7 1/2 hours so they don't have to give two 15 minute paid breaks.
- These workers are all on the minimum wage or a small amount above.
- Workers can be rostered for up to 10 days in a row without consultation.
The company is a joint venture between two high profile and very profitable companies - the Host Marriot Services Corporation and Auckland International Airport Limited.
The Auckland City Council and Manukau City Councils who are shareholders in AIAL should be embarrassed that the backward provisions of this contract are helping boost their dividends.
The striking workers are campaigning for a pay increase, security of hours for all staff (especially long term staff) and improved rest breaks.