Is WINZ Backing Industrial Action?

I couldn’t believe what I heard this morning on “Morning Report

Kathryn Ryan was interviewing two “locked out” workers from Progressive Enterprises, asking them how it was going after being without wages for three weeks.

One said that it wasn’t so bad now that they were getting benefits from WINZ.

A little taken aback, Ryan asked how strikers could be on benefits from WINZ.

The reply came that they were not strikers, they were “locked out“. As they were being denied access to their place of work by their employer, they were entitled to benefits.

Ryan asked if this was thanks to Labour’s “Employment Relations Act

The “locked out” worker thought that this was the case.

Does anyone know if this is true? Can locked out workers apply for a state benefit?

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13 thoughts on “Is WINZ Backing Industrial Action?

  1. They can apply for a special benefit as other people who find themselves in financial trouble due to severe unforseen circumstances can.

  2. Trevor this would have nothing to do with the Employment Relations Act. Whether or not someone is eligible for the Emergency Unemployment Benefit is a matter for the Social Security Regulations. I imagine those rules haven’t changed for a while.

    The fact is that locked out workers can’t return to work so they are eligible for the Emergency Unemployment Benefit.

  3. Thanks Cameron and Maia. The difficulty I have here is that Progressive are not allowed to employ substitute labour, but the union members can stay out at the expense of people like me who do not support their cause.

    I also fail to see how this is “beyond their control”.

    All they have to do is agree to Progressives terms and they can return to work.

    Basically, this is a taxpayer subsidy for industrial action. Hardly a level playing field eh?

  4. I was on a Prog site and heard that the strikers had been offered 10%.They turned it down and so the next offer was 3.5%! They are their own worst enemy and deserve all they get….or don’t as it happens.

  5. Trevor the workers are not taking industrial action, the company is. You keep on putting ‘locked-out’ in quotes – as if it doesn’t actually exist. The reality is that lock-out is both a legal term and an action with some history (for example the 1951 dispute was also a lock out).

    james no-one is on strike at the distribution centre. If you can’t grasp that then I’m sorry I don’t think you’re a particularly reliable indicator of the deals that have been offered (I will undertake to eat my hat if they were offered 10%)

  6. Trevor, a lot of confusion over the facts. You say they only have to agree to Progressives terms and they can return. Why should they submit to unfair terms and conditions? All Progressive has to do is be fair and pay the same rates for the same job at each of the three distribution centres and you would not have to pay to support them through your taxes. If you feel that strongly about it you should approach Progressive and tell them you object to their actions which is costing you money. Remember, it is Progressive locking the employees out that is causing your taxes to go to those employees.

  7. Lucky Progressive has alternate plans for transporting their goods around. Its a credit to them that shops such as my local New World continue to be well stocked. The strikers as pawns of the ideology of the union have now been rendered effectiely irrelevant. Nice try, now go work somewhere else.

  8. Stuff has one ‘locked out’ worker saying he gets $400 a week from a benefit.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3801614a11,00.html

    Compare that to the $150 I am allowed to borrow for the cost of living as a student. But hell, I’m not complaining, if I didn’t like it I’d leave and get a job.

    Its not a difficult concept- if you don’t like the pay, move on.

    btw tj- New World is Foodstuffs brand not Progressive Enterprises and shouldnt be affected by the strike.

  9. Can’t follow your logic Broadstairs. Who determines what is fair? Those workers took those jobs knowing the conditions.

    Then they break faith and say if you don’t give us more we’ll strike to hurt your business. How fair is that?

    The main issue here is not pay, its the unions attempt to force Progressive into what amounts to a national award structure.

    Progressive is resisting this union power grab as well it should.

    This dispute has stuff all to do with money. Its about a Marxist led union trying to bring a capitalist enterprise to heel.

    That’s why I’ll be shopping at Woolies for a while.

  10. “Then they break the faith and say if you don’t give us more, we’ll strike to hurt your business.” Come on Trevor,what is Progressive doing. They say if you dont see things our way and agree to what WE want we’ll lock you out and we won’t negotiate until you agree with us. At least the employees are willing to negotiate but Progressive put pre-conditions on even meeting them. That’s not fair or lawful under legislation.

  11. Progressive is under no moral obligation to negotiate. The workers accepted the conditions when the signed on. Progressive has no need to need to negotiate, that was done when each worker was hired.

    Its like getting married and agreeing on not having kids.Then the wife says, sorry I want kids now-no sex, housework or cooking until you agree.

    Progressive will no doubt give a wage rise, because thats what the market dictates. In a time when labour is in short supply, workers command a higher wage. Thats simple supply and demand. Nothing to do with unions.

    This union is run by power hungry Marxists. Why would anybody want to negotiate with losers like that?

  12. Power hungry marxists, Trev? Au contraire. Laila’s a left social democrat but with eyes on the prize of CTU leadership. There are several radicals of different hues employed as officials, but the ideological diversity ranges from anarchism to Maoism to left social democracy. Your minor paranoia that an all powerful neo Stalinist SPA / SUP secret faction controls all this diversity of opinion has no bearing on reality. If you are looking for the real new radicals in the NDU, I’d be watching out for the battle hardened members returning from the picket lines soon. The rank and file in South Auckland have been very committed and their community is very well knit. This radicalism will no doubt spread out to other South Auckland workplaces from Favona Road.

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