Solidarity to support the locked out workers at Synovate

April 13, 2009

In solidarity with Auckland, Unite union Wellington members, volunteers and supporters will picket the Ministry of Social Development, who contract out their call centres to Synovate. Synovate have illegally locked out their workers in negotiations over pay.

The picket will take place at noon, Tuesday April 14th. Please support this worthwhile action if you can

 

Over 30 market research call centre workers in Auckland, who are members of the Unite Union have been illegally locked out on Easter Friday by their employer, British multi-national corporation, Synovate. image070The corporation’s New Zealand managers were instructed by their British senior managers to lock-out the New Zealand workforce after they turned down a pay offer of a measly 20 cents an hour. 

The company locked the workers out and padlocked the front entrance of the building. The managers put up a notice telling the non union workers to sneak in by the back door. In response to this  Union officials and members added their own locks to the front door and used cars and locks to block all other entrances to the building.

Locked in

Locked in

This effectively locked the bosses inside for two hours until the union allowed one car to be moved to allow delegates to enter the building to continue the negotiations

Almost all the employees are paid the minimum wage. Yet Synovate, pays their workers in Australia $22 an hour for the same work and increased their wages by 3.5% in January. After six months of negotiations their New Zealand workers are being told that they will stay locked out until they accept Synovate’s 20 cents an hour offer with possibly of another 15 cents an hour in 6 months. 

Like hundreds of other call centre workers the Synovate workers are part of the Unite Union’s Calling for Change campaign to improve wages and conditions in Auckland call centres. Synovate workers went on hunger strike in February to draw attention to their low wages and sweatshop conditions. 

Synovate is owned by the Aegis Group based in Britain which made £89.2 million in profit last year. In New Zealand Synovate undertakes market research for Ministry of Social Development and ASB Bank.

In solidarity with Auckland, Unite union Wellington members, volunteers and supporters will picket the Ministry of Social Development.    The picket will take place at noon, Tuesday April 14th Ministry of Social Development office, Bowen State Building, Bowen St, Wellington. Please support this worthwhile action if you can.


Victory: Ali Panah gains refugee status

April 13, 2009

Rebecca Broad The Spark April 2009

Iranian asylum seeker Ali Panah won refugee status in February 2009, after a protracted and public struggle, which began in mid 2007.

Panah was part of a larger group of Iranian immigrants who came to New Zealand as either refugees or asylum seekers, who were denied residency, and locked up inside Mt Eden remand center indefinitely. Read the rest of this entry »


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