Solidarity to support the locked out workers at Synovate

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.

7 Responses to Solidarity to support the locked out workers at Synovate

  1. Joshua Leach says:

    This article should provide the hourly rate of the New Zealand workers to compare to the $22.00 Australian and/or the Percentage the 20 cent increase is?

    Australia $22 vs paid the minimum wage

    wages by 3.5% vs 20 cents an hour

    How are we supposed to compare?

    Great job locking them in…

  2. Paul Drake says:

    An offer of 0.20 cents per hour is an insult to anyones intelligence!!!!
    The Australian Synovate workers are getting $22.00 per hour , how much are the Kiwi workers getting per hour as a matter of interest?

  3. John Edmundson says:

    The NZ Synovate workers were on the minimum wage - $12.50. As of last night they’ve won their fight for an extra 50c now and they get another 50c in 6 months. It’s still well short of what their Australian coworkers get, but still great news eh!

  4. Paul Drake says:

    Thanks John
    I still think that they should ask for more.
    I mean fifty cents really!!!

  5. Joel says:

    Paul, I think coming from maybe 35 cents to one dollar is a good start. From the lockout perspective, I’m not sure how much longer this could have gone on for. The other part to this is looking at the industry as a whole and seeing this as a step within that wider context.

  6. John Edmundson says:

    I think Joel is right about the bigger picture. Getting to $13.50 from $12.50 isn’t that flash when their Australian co-workers are on $22.00 but I’m sure the victory means an enormous amount to the workers who took, and won, the industrial action. In the context of New Zealand’s recent record of industrial militancy, every victory is important.

  7. Joel says:

    Especially as the last decade has been so dire…

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