Shoppers are being urged by the Green Party to boycott Progressive Enterprises supermarkets where possible until locked-out employees are allowed to negotiate a national collective agreement.
"The Green Party is totally behind the locked-out workers. The right to form national collective agreements is a basic one which workers in many other industries have successfully attained. It is appalling to see Progressive Enterprises applying such brute economic force to prevent its workers from negotiating one," Green Party Industrial Relations Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.
"I have the utmost respect for all the low-paid workers who have forgone 13 days' pay to express their anger at these bullying tactics, especially those in Palmerston North whose existing contract is more favourable than those of their Auckland and Christchurch counterparts. It is a credit to the strength of the National Distribution Union (NDU).
"These workers will now be feeling the pinch as they face indefinite lockout from their place of work without pay. It is great to see support, especially financial donations, being mobilised from unions, political parties and the wider community. The Green Party's own network of unionists are working to help locked out workers in any way possible.
"The shopping public can help too, by boycotting Progressive's chain of supermarkets (Foodtown, Woolworths, and Countdown) wherever possible until this situation is satisfactorily resolved. Progressive Enterprises needs to get the message loud and clear that New Zealanders don't believe bullying tactics are ok.
"There are other good reasons to boycott Progressive Enterprises. As well as applying brute economic force against their workers, they have a terrible record of putting the squeeze on local suppliers. Earlier this year, local suppliers complained that Progressive were threatening to ban their products unless they agreed to give the company discounts of 10 to 15 percent.
"I hope the public will join me in showing their support for the New Zealand workers and suppliers suffering at the hands of Progressive Enterprises," Ms Bradford says.