Around 250 members of the NZ Meat Workers Union in Wairoa are saying no to the unlawful lockout tactics of their employer, AFFCO Talley’s, by refusing to accept punitive individual agreements as a precondition to returning to work after the seasonal lay-off.
Wairoa is the fourth AFFCO plant to experience this process in the last three months, after AFFCO Talleys walked when AFFCO Talleys walked away from mediation around renewal of the collective agreement and sought to have the Employment Authority end the bargaining.Read more
When workers get together with other workers, they find they have a whole lot in common. They find strength in one another, they draw hope and solidarity from their shared experiences. This is why workers are in unions. This is why AFFCO Talleys workers came together over the last weekend with CTU leaders, other union's members and the CTU Runanga. And they went away with a strong message : solidarity : it can't be beaten.
The Talley family are one of New Zealand’s wealthiest families. Their operations include Seafood, Frozen vegetables, Dairy and Meat. One of their family, Peter Talley was recently knighted for services to business and the community.
But this company has a checkered employment relations history going back to the early 1990's. In 2012 they locked out workers in their AFFCO meat plants for 84 days. Families and kids suffered, and it was only the support of unions, communities and iwi that got them through. But now it's happening all over again.Read more
The Meat Workers Union will stand with Talleys meat workers at AFFCO and SPM as long as it takes. We welcome the involvement of Iwi and the support that continues to gather pace.
Its been a hard few days. Talleys AFFCO have chucked everything at union members with all the tricks in the union busting playbook. But if anything, it's strengthened the resolve of unions, workers and communities to stand together.
A rally at Parliament next Tuesday will support 1000 members of the New Zealand Meat Workers Union at eight AFFCO plants in the North Island who have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action next week.
The decision comes after the Talley’s owned company walked away from mediation last week and applied to end bargaining under the government’s new employment laws – the first such application since the law came into effect.
Meat workers are keen for the government to pass the Health & Safety Reform Bill and particularly the provisions around worker participation. While some Meat Industry employers take health & safety and worker participation seriously, others see it as a form of intrusion on their right to manage, or even a threat from unions! The consequences can be awful for workers.Read more
The weak attempt by the government to regulate around zero hours contracts has left many disappointed, and the problem of insecure hours still a wide open wound for many workers. Front of mind for meat workers during these winter months are the seasonal lay-offs, when they are expected to find other work while the plant shuts down.Read more
It doesn’t have to be the “it’s our way or the highway” model that Talley’s owned meat companies practice - where voice through a union is to be suppressed and disciplinary action taken against union members who seek to advance their human rights to join unions and organise.Read more
So say these workers at AFFCO Rangiuru, who this week have had to make the most awful decision - sign an unfair individual agreement, or have no job. But they're not giving up. The Meat Workers Union asked the Employment Court to intervene with an injunction, but Judge Colgan declined it on the "balance of convenience". The substantive case is due to be heard by a full panel of Employment Court Judges as soon as possible.Read more