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Union leader arrested at picket

Published: 8:20AM Monday August 28, 2006 Source: RNZ

A unionist has been arrested on a picket line in Auckland during a strike affecting distribution centres supplying nearly half of New Zealand's supermarkets.

About 600 Progressive Enterprises workers in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch walked off the job on Friday, in support of a nationwide collective agreement and an 8% pay rise.  They have been picketing outside supply

The centres supply Woolworths, Foodtown and Countdown supermarkets.

National Distribution Union's secretary Laila Harre says she does not know why union negotiator Stan Renwick was arrested.

She says the arrest will harden the resolve of workers who will meet on Monday to decide whether to continue their action.

The strike was extended until Monday following the indefinite suspension of 50 people in Palmerston North.

The union says the strike is having an impact on supermarket shelves, with some goods in short supply at Foodtown, Woolworths and Countdown stores.

The company has been unavailable for comment, but earlier said it was business as usual.