When the NDU in Christchurch started recruiting new members at Leopard Coach Lines prior to renegotiating the collective agreement in 2009 they got a big surprise.
Much to their amazement, site delegates and NDU organiser Bob Brough discovered that Leopard had neglected to tell them new drivers were being employed by Urban Driving Solutions (UDS), a newly formed labour hire company.
“These workers were coming to work at Leopard, driving Leopard buses and wearing Leopard uniforms,” said NDU head site delegate Don Broun.
“The difference was they were all on individual employment agreements with UBS and these agreements were missing some of the conditions of the NDU collective agreement with Leopard.”
The union withdrew its claims and initiated a Multi Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) which would cover workers employed by both companies.
Don said it wasn’t easy, and it took around 18 months, but the MECA was fi nally signed off at the beginning of July this year.
“What we have achieved is a MECA which brings all our members in both companiets off individual agreements and into a collective. This was the fi rst thing we had to do. It has taken so long to settle we will be back in negotiations soon and now we will be trying to lift UDS drivers’ conditions up so we are all the same again.”
(Source: National Distribution Union)