Just five days into the New Year, AFFCO Talleys suspended another worker without pay at their plant in Rangiuru. After refusing to meet on the plant because union staffers were wearing union branded t shirts, the meeting was moved to the first known suspension in a carpark.
This was after a delayed meeting from last week, where our MWU union member came to the meeting wearing a Jobs that Count t-shirt. The management objected, so MWU representatives reasonably agreed to delay the meeting. Five days later, the same worker turned up without the t-shirt but two authorised Union reps were wearing their Jobs that Count shirts.
Union reps were denied entry to the office for the meeting, so we agreed to meet in the first known car-park disciplinary across the road, where we stood, papers in hand and tried to defend the MWU member.
Union reps suggested that AFFCO Talley's should consider de-escalating their recent actions around t shirts and demonstrate Talley's are capable of doing things differently. But nah, after 5 minutes conflab, yet another worker was unlawfully suspended without pay.
And then AFFCO Talleys upped the anti by telling union representatives they won’t meet with them again wearing union branded t shirts, anywhere, anytime.
As far as we are aware, there has never been this kind of bottom line demand where a company thinks it can tell people what they wear and when.
After all, Talley's are hardly the fashion police, and many of us find their branding offensive. But we would never tell people they can't wear it.
The response to this has been unprecedented. There’s now a demand for Jobs that Count t shirts that the union cant keep up with and it’s reached the international union movement. Jobs that Count and the union movement will be responding
This isn't the New Zealand we believe in. We now have a company that thinks it can dictate what people wear not only to and from work, but outside of work, including those who don't work for them.