AFFCO Talleys have been granted leave to appeal against the Full Bench decision of the Employment Court last year. Its means the legal run around continues, but none of this was unexpected.
The November decision of the NZ Meat Workers Union vs AFFCO Talleys was groundbreaking. It overturned a 1992 decision that said Meat Workers were not employees between seasons and found that :
- AFFCO Talley’s union members covered by the expired collective agreement were employees with rights of on-going employment from season to season;
- As employees, the company’s actions on insisting union members sign new individual agreements, was an unlawful lockout.
- That by requiring workers to sign company individual agreements to return to work, the company engaged in illegal activity around good faith bargaining.
This decision got union members back on the expired union agreement. Further court action in February meant 150 Wairoa workers went back to work without the entire union having to be consigned to night shift, as the Company wanted.
We knew AFFCO Talleys were appealing. We hoped they wouldnt be granted leave, but the Court of Appeal has decided otherwise. They are also appealing the February Court decision. We knew they would do this too.
Legal action is just one avenue to challenge AFFCO Talleys. They will always challenge unfavourable court decisions, because they seem unable accept that their actions are not those of a reasonable employer - and because they have the funds to waste. There is much more court action in the pipeline, including an attempt to shut down the unions' media campaign.
This won't deter AFFCO Talleys workers.
All in all, they're just another very small brick in our wall of workers, whanau and community.