Silencing workers – Tiwai Point extends free speech prohibition to workers’ email.
New Zealand Aluminium Smelters has imposed an external email ban on workers, as it tightens censorship on site.
NZAS, which runs the smelter at Tiwai Point, has a gagging clause in its employment agreements prohibiting workers from
speaking about the company publicly.
E tū organiser, Trevor Hobbs says NZAS has now issued a section of the General Manager’s internal blog , which details a
ban on workers sending emails home and sharing information with outside parties via email.
He says members’ use email to keep in touch with him and to seek advice.
He said it’s believed the company is monitoring workers’ emails including their practice of sending emails home before
sending them on to him, so they’re more difficult to trace.
Trevor Hobbs says this practice has now been explicitly banned, which is clearly aimed at choking off communication with
him and the union.
He says: “I think it’s just another attempt by the employer against the union to prevent it getting itself firmly
established on the worksite at Tiwai Point. This employer is really, really active in working against the union .”
“People surely are entitled to seek advice on any issue to do with their employment, and if people are denied that
right, it’s not democratic.
“I think it’s a breach of human rights.”
E tū has previously expressed concern about employer tactics to silence workers, including the use of gagging clauses in
This latest bid to censor workers and restrict their freedom of speech follows a legal bid by AFFCO/Talley’s to shut
down comment on social media by members of the Meat Workers Union – a move organiser Darien Fenton has called “a move
into dangerous territory.”