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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Compass New Zealand: SFWU members unanimously reject company offer

Posted to the IUF website 14-Apr-2009

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More industrial action looms at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Ohakea defence base near Palmerston North, as catering workers continue their dispute with their employer, Compass Group PLC.

The workers, who are members of the Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota have been in negotiations with their employer for over six months, and have been unable to reach an agreement over pay and conditions.

The workers took industrial action 10 days ago, following which, Compass asked for urgent mediation. A further offer from Compass has now been rejected by the workers, and they are not ruling out further industrial action.

"The workers waited patiently for five days after the mediation for a new offer, only to find that the new offer has removed some of the original conditions!" said SFWU organiser Sam Jones.

"The original offer included increasing the minimum rate to $13 an hour, with backpay for staff who didn't get the increase last year. They have now made an additional offer to increase the hourly rate to $13.50 for staff with 12 months service, but have withdrawn their original offer to backpay staff to July 2008. They are now only offering to pay them backpay to December 2008. It may not seem important to a huge company like Compass, but to the workers the backpay means a great deal, and they have rejected the offer unanimously." said Sam Jones.

"Many of our members are unhappy with the new offer because it doesn't represent any change for them. They will still be on $13 an hour from July 2009.'says site delegate Dave Clarke.

Compass Group PLC has annual revenues of NZ$28 billion and employs 450,000 people in over 90 countries.

In New Zealand, Compass Group has operations across more than 330 sites, employing more than 2,000 people and an annual turnover of approximately NZ$100million."