The legal dispute between discontented former workers for Terralink and the company itself (now in receivership) has been extended to name the receivers, led by Gary Traveller of PricewaterhouseCoopers, as second defendant.
The plaintiffs and their lawyer, Peter Cullen, say the termination of their employment with the state-run mapmaker should have been aligned with the termination date of their individual contracts - which still had some time to run, and that the receivers' action was in breach of the Industrial Relations Act, as an employer – including the receiver of the company – cannot make competent workers redundant while there is still work to be done.
The Landonline data conversion project for Land Information New Zealand was the major cause of the collapse. It was well behind schedule, so there would have still been plenty of earning work that the ex-Terralink people could do, as the company was prepared for sale.
In the event, a lot of those people have gone across to EDS and are continuing to work on the conversion project. :andonline chief Terry Jackson described them as “EDS people”, being contractors who were hired by EDS when dismissed from Terralink. But a spokeswoman for the Cullen firm refers to them as “EDS people who have been pulled into Terralink”. An EDS spokeswoman confirms they are engaged by EDS on short-term contract; there are 40 of them.
Traveller late last week declined to comment on the new development in the legal case.