Media Release :
This week's Employment Court decision should see AFFCO Talley’s Wairoa locked out workers back at work in the next two weeks, says the NZ Meat Workers Union.
"After five months of lock out and significant suffering for whanau and the small community of Wairoa, the Employment Court this week issued a judgement requiring the company to respect rights around seniority and re-engage these workers on the shift they would have been employed on had it not been for the Company’s misconduct” says Darien Fenton, Meat Workers Union Organising Director.
The Court also ruled that the company is breaching section 97 of the Employment Relations Act by employing replacement workers during a lockout.
After a Full Bench decision of the Employment Court in November 2015 found that AFFCO Talleys had unlawfully locked out workers and breached good faith, Wairoa workers were hopeful of a return to work.
However, the company’s remedy was to have the entire Wairoa union membership consigned to the night shift, regardless of the workers’ employment agreement rights, previous shifts and seniority provisions.
"This decision is a strong one and has given heart to Wairoa Meat Workers Union members who have bravely stood up for their rights.
"It also reinforces that seniority systems in the meat industry is an important form of protection for workers", says Ms Fenton.
The Judge has provided for a return to the Employment Court for compliance on 23rd February should these workers not be back at work by then.