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Police role today in Nelson supermarket wage campaign criticised

Nelson supermarkets should have nothing to fear from their workers joining together in union, and the Police have no place in blocking workers from getting organised for better wages. 

Two FIRST Union officials have been arrested and detained in Nelson this afternoon for trespass after exercising their legal right of entry into the Nelson New World and the Richmond PAK’nSAVE. A community rally was taking place outside.

This is despite NZ Police’s own advice to its officers that it has no role in blocking workers from accessing their union representatives, the Council of Trade Unions said today.

“NZ Police’s staff magazine (February 4, 2005) issued advice to officers reminding them that “an employer may not rely on the Trespass Act 1980 to eject the union representative” yet this is precisely what has happened today,” CTU secretary Sam Huggard said.

“The advice further reminded officers that in an industrial dispute the Police role, if any, was limited to keeping the peace.”

“It would be more productive for everyone if Foodstuffs supermarkets in Nelson focused on lifting the low wages of its supermarket workers in discussions with their union, than calling the police on their representatives,” Sam Huggard said.

NOTE: Click here for a copy of the New Zealand Police ‘Ten One’ magazine, 4 February 2005, outlining the role of Police in an industrial dispute (bottom of page 2 of the PDF):