9 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Cleaners’ win shows what’s at stake
The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold 50 cleaners’ rights to negotiate redundancy entitlements is a great victory after what has been an uphill battle says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Darien Fenton.
“The cleaners, employed by global cleaning company OCS at Massey University, have fought long and hard for this ruling, illustrating the effort and persistence ill-treated workers have to put in to challenge unfairness under current employment laws.
“The battle for redundancy entitlements began after these workers had their hours and pay when the University’s contractor changed hands in 2010.
“I want to congratulate the Service & Food Workers Union for its persistence in this case. If it weren’t for the fact that these workers were represented by a union, there is no way the cleaners, who are on minimum wage, could have pursued this issue through the Employment Authority, the Employment Court, the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.
“This process really demonstrates just how much is at stake with the Government's planned employment law changes. These will seriously weaken any chance workers like these have to get resolution to unfairness at work.
“Two years ago, National had the chance to avoid cases like this one by supporting a statutory minimum redundancy bill in my name, which they voted down.
“New Zealand workers deserve fair and robust employment laws. All this government is doing is undermining workplace relations and watering down already inadequate laws,” Darien Fenton said.