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Media Releases

Pumpkin Patch workers lose health insurance in payment botch-up

Date of Release: 
Thursday, November 24, 2016

In another blow for workers at failed children’s retailer Pumpkin Patch, some workers have discovered their insurance cover could be void after the company receivers confirmed Pumpkin Patch had not paid workers’ insurance premiums for the year August 2016 to August 2017.

Documents obtained by FIRST Union indicate that if the insurance provider confirms coverage for workers has lapsed then the receiver doesn’t intend to correct the botch-up and renew insurance cover. 

No buyer found for Pumpkin Patch, head office staff to go

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The union representing distribution centre workers at Pumpkin Patch is calling on the company receiver, KordaMentha, to guarantee that head office workers will receive their full entitlements after they learned in a meeting today many of them could be put out of the job as early as tomorrow.

No buyer has been found for the struggling children’s retailer.

Distribution centre workers will stay in the job until the company’s remaining stock is shifted.

Māori workers call for end to exploitation at iwi-owned bus company

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The boards of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Waikato-Tainui must put the brakes on the exploitation of workers at iwi-owned Go Bus, says FIRST Union president Syd Keepa.

“Go Bus is out of control. They’ve been exposed for illegally housing migrant workers in Dunedin and they’ve come under fire after a number of drivers resigned from the job in Auckland,” said Keepa.

St John employ “emotional blackmail” in badge dispute

Date of Release: 
Monday, November 7, 2016

The union representing over 800 striking ambulance officers in the North Island is condemning St John after an Auckland station manager told an ambulance crew that ‘if someone dies because they didn’t let you in be it on your heads.’

“This kind of emotional blackmail is unacceptable,” said Ambulance Professionals First spokesperson Lynette Blacklaws.

Over 800 Ambulance Professionals from across the North Island are continuing their uniform ban and wearing a badge that reads “Healthy Ambos Save Lives” as part of their struggle for safe working hours and conditions.

St John threatens jobs… over wearing a badge

Date of Release: 
Friday, November 4, 2016

As ambulance officers across the country begin strike action at St John, the union representing the officers has revealed that approximately 800 officers on strike received a letter warning that disciplinary action could be taken against those who didn’t comply with the uniform policy.

“Ambulance officers across the country are wearing badges that read ‘Healthy Ambos Save Lives,’” said Ambulance Professionals First spokesperson Lynette Blacklaws.

The strike involves a uniform ban.

Pumpkin Patch still deducting workers’ money to pay for “worthless” shares

Date of Release: 
Thursday, November 3, 2016

Workers at Pumpkin Patch head office and distribution centre are outraged after receiving an email from the company’s payroll department confirming that wage deductions will be made to pay for shares in the failed company.

“Workers at head office and in the distribution centre were part of an employee-shares scheme,” explained FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

“Now Payroll is saying workers will continue to pay for shares through wage deductions. People are outraged that they’ll continue to have wages deducted for the now worthless shares.”

Regulate "wild west" labour hire industry – union

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A union representing approximately 2000 labour hire workers in the logistics industry is calling on the Government to urgently introduce a licensing system in an effort to regulate the “wild west” industry. 

The call for a licensing system comes after NewsHub revealed that Work and Income New Zealand has, according to one person, “coerced” unemployed workers to sign unlawful employment contracts with labour hire firms.

Controversy at new South Auckland bus operator

Date of Release: 
Monday, October 31, 2016

Drivers are resigning from new South Auckland bus operator Go Bus sighting unsafe conditions of work as the reason, says Bus Drivers First.

Go Bus Ltd begins operations in South Auckland today, having won the Auckland Transport tender to drive new routes in the city. Around five drivers have resigned before operations began sighting safety concerns at the company. 

Traffic management, no toilet facilities, and no induction training are some of the concerns being raised.

‘It’s an accident waiting to happen,’ said one driver who does not wish to be named.

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