29 Mar 2009

Lock-out ends after company agrees to pay rise

6:12 am on 29 March 2009

A lock-out of nearly 60 call centre staff on Auckland's North Shore has ended, with the company agreeing to give its employees a pay rise.

The 59 Unite union members had been taking action over Oceania Customer Interaction Service's refusal to pay them more than $12.50 an hour.

The union and the company were in the middle of negotiations on Friday when the workers were issued with the lock-out notice as they arrived to start their shift.

The notice issued stated that they would be denied access to the building, and prevented from working, unless they agreed to the minimum wage contract offered.

The union says emergency talks were held on Saturday morning and an agreement has been reached which will reimburse workers for any lost earnings, and gives them an increase of at least 50 cents an hour.

Mike Treen from Unite says the lock-out forced emergency talks, which he described as "a bit of a bruising process".

"We think the lock-out was a big mistake but at least it brought it all to a head and we ended up in emergency negotiations," he said.

"We gained what was clearly the best offer on the table from the company."