50 Unite Union members at the OCIS call centre in Auckland, New Zealand stood strong on Friday night after their employer locked them out. The lock out came after three weeks of wildcat strike action by workers.
Small groups of, nearly all teenaged, interviewers and supervisors had been regularly walking off shift, especially during unpopular weekend shifts. Scuffles broke out and the police turned up Friday night as officials and members attempted to rush the door to the call centre.
The lock out followed the first ever general stop work meeting of market researchers where union delegates from across Auckland and Hamilton and a represenative from the National Union of Workers in Australia voted for united action against OCIS for attempting to win $30,000 in damages from the union. The damages were for, among other things, Unite calling OCIS a shadowy multinational.
By Saturday afternoon the lock out was over after a settlement was reached that included: higher rates of pay, better job security and payments to locked out union members equal in value to the amount lost as a result of the lock out. As part of retaliation for the lock out the union had released information that members had been doing secret research on whether the public wants the return of nuclear ship visits.
Saturday morning also saw Unite union housekeeping staff at Crowne Plaza walk out to teach their bosses a lesson.