New Zealand says no to lock-outs

Aug 02 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Thinking about striking in New Zealand? If so, you may be comforted to know that if your employer tries to lock you out, the law is on your side.

Members of the Service and Food Workers Union recently threatened, (yes, only threatened), to strike over their wages. Possibly outraged by the fact that these people dared to suggest that their low wages weren't enough, their employer (name available in the aforementioned article) decide to lock the workers out, American-style.

An Employment Court ruled in favor of the union and stopped the employer from enforcing the lockout, which had already lasted nine days. The striking workers returned to work the next day.

All in all a fair compromise, though it is disappointing that courts need to get involved in order to make progress.

It's always a pity to see either party play hardball to obtain what it wants (or to get its message across), but let's be realistic. We seem have a case here of a company that is doing well (every indication from their web site is that they are doing rather well and are quite proud of it) not wanting to pay those at the bottom a little more.

Let's remember that people threatening to strike usually aren't doing so because they can't afford a new Mercedes. It's normally because they want to keep their families financially afloat. Let's not forget the difference.