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Carter Holt Harvey case ‘a win for all working people’

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and E tū are delighted with today’s Employment Court win.

Manufacturing company Carter Holt Harvey was taken to court after forcing their workers to use annual leave during the April 2020 lockdown.

In a ruling released today, the Employment Court found CHH was not entitled to require employees to take ten days of annual leave.

The case, which involved E tū union members, also had NZCTU as an intervener.

NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff said the result was a win for all working people.

“This has been an important case for defining entitlement to annual holidays. Businesses can’t force their employees to take holidays without talking to them first -especially during a nationwide lockdown.”

Wagstaff said this outcome could have widespread implications for leave-harvesting as an issue in workplaces.

In the findings, the Employment Court said employers and unions needed to be ‘active and constructive.’ It also noted that E tū attempts to engage with the employer over how workers would be paid were ‘not reciprocated’.

E tū Assistant National Secretary Rachel Mackintosh was pleased with the outcome of the case.

“It shows clearly that employment law can’t just be ignored because of a public health emergency.

“Decent work and dignity remain vital, and we’re delighted to see workers’ entitlements are upheld by this decision.”