Around 800 workers contracted to Spotless Services Ltd have been locked out of their kitchen, orderly and cleaning jobs today at 13 public hospitals across New Zealand after they attempted to start industrial action.
The action involved striking for 55 minutes of every hour, 24 hours a day in a struggle for better wages and conditions.
The workers are members of the Service & Food Workers Union (SFWU) and have all been served with 14 day lockout notices. The SFWU took Spotless Services Ltd to the Employment Court, after Spotlight claimed the strike action would pose a health and safety hazard at the hospitals, but the Court agreed with Spotlight and said the lockout notices were justified. The lockout is the largest ever of public hospital workers.
SFWU spokesman Alastair Duncan said striking workers planned to present themselves for work and take industrial action as planned, but if they were physically prevented from working they would comply.
Pickets at the Hospitals will continue, and workers and their supporters will also picket outside the headquarters of Spotless Services on Friday 13th July.
Those in New Zealand can make an automatic $10 donation to the lockout fund by calling 0900 LOCKOUT (0900 56256)