New Zealand: Woolworths defeated by strike and massive community support

Workers win pay parity across threes sites

A dispute involving the 500 locked out distribution workers in New Zealand has ended, with union members in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch ratifying the terms of settlement with ‘Progressive Enterprises’, who are owned by ‘Woolworths Australia’.

The three-year settlement achieves the workers’ key aim of equal pay across the three sites. A single national pay rate will deliver a 19.7% increase to the lowest paid distribution centre in Christchurch, within two years.

While this settlement results in three separate agreements, it was the fact that the workers bargained collectively, on a national basis that achieved the result of equal pay across the sites.

Progressive were forced to give up the fight in the face of overwhelming public support for the workers.

Laila Harré, National Secretary of the strikers’ union, the NDU, said: “The workers were very aware of the importance of local and international union support”. Laila thanked UNITE in Australia for its support.

UNITE congratulate all of the workers involved in this dispute. It was a long month without pay but the determination shown by the strikers was an example to workers internationally.

(For more information on UNITE visit:

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September 2006