A significant ruling in the Employment Relations Authority (attached) was made yesterday in favour of FIRST Union, who
argued that Ritchies Transport, a Government-contracted bus company with several major national contracts, has
consistently discriminated against FIRST Union members.
The Authority member, Michael Loftus, concluded that FIRST Union members who drive buses for Ritchies Transport were
deprived of pay increases because of their union membership, and as a result were discriminated against.
Loftus did not accept arguments put forward from the company that a pay increase offered to non-union members and
members of a non-CTU affiliated trade union were negotiated.
Jared Abbott, FIRST Union’s Secretary for Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing, said the decision was extremely
important and the first of its kind under new laws introduced last year.
"This wasn’t just a case about an anti-union employer - it reflects a growing trend in the bus industry of anti-worker
companies using an arrangement with a fake union to deter membership from an independent trade union like FIRST," said
"Our union has a reputation for achieving results for our members and that’s why companies use tactics like this to try
to discourage membership."
"At the end of the day, the bus drivers that suffered because of the company’s actions are the same essential service
heroes that put the public interest before themselves and continued providing their service through the entire level 4
"It’s deeply unfortunate that tax-payer money has been funding companies like Ritchies to treat staff this way, using a
tactic that has now clearly been shown to be unlawful."
Putting Workers First
FIRST Union is New Zealand's second-largest private sector trade union.
Formed in 2011 after the merger between the National Distribution Union and Finsec, FIRST Union represents 27,000
workers in the Finance, Industrial (Textile and Wood), Retail, Stores, Transport and Logistics sectors.
FIRST Union is also affiliated to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and runs several networks including the Union
Network of Migrants, the Runanga, Fono and Womens' Committee. In 2015 FIRST Union launched Samoa First Union, Samoa's
only private sector union.
Join FIRST Union today for higher pay, better conditions and more say at work.