Following the advise of their union, a group of posties staged a secret strike in July last year. Rather than deliver the mail, as they were being paid to, they reposted some of their letters. This means that customers faced waiting twice as long or more for their mail if they were affected by the secret strike.
Now when your employees refuse to do their jobs, it is a partial strike and an employer is allowed to respond by locking them out. In this case, where the union and employees, did not even tell the employer if their action – one could argue that the employer could treat the actions as misconduct.
But NZ Post did not move to formally sanction or dismiss the employees. They merely locked them out, backdating it to the start of their secret strike.
But the Employment Relations Authority has ruled it is illegal to backdate a suspension notice. So it means the posties get full pay during all the time they were on a secret strike.
It does indeed appear to be a loophole in the law. My view is that employees only get the protection of the law for striking, when they actually notify their employer they are striking. Any sort of “secret strike” is simply misconduct.
Imagine if you discover your helpdesk staff were hanging up on every fifth call as part of a “secret strike”? Or if your accounts receivable team decided not to invoice evey fifth customer without telling you. Totally unacceptable.Tags: New Zealand