MWU members at Taylor Preston Ltd (TPL) in Ngaraunga Gorge have been in bargaining for a new collective agreement since last April. So who is TPL? And more importantly who are their workers?
Taylor Preston (TPL) has been around for 22 years. For the first 10 years there was no union.
Today, there's a strong group of Meat Workers Union members, mostly Pasifika and Maori workers, who have withstood hard times, and become more determined to get a better deal. Because TPL is one of the lowest paying meat companies in New Zealand.
Just down the road in Levin, Bulls and Palmerston North, there are meat workers getting a whole lot more in pay than TPL workers do - between $2 and $10 an hour more, for doing the same job.
These workers aren't expected to work for no overtime after an 8 hour day and on Saturdays.
Night shift workers at TPL don't even get a night shift allowance like other meat workers. Many of them don't get home until the early hours of the morning.
Some progress, but not enough
While there's been some progress in negotiations so far, it's not enough to recognise the skills and contribution of workers that have made this company successful. For example, the company bonus system has been under the control of TPL for 22 years.
There's been days of negotiations and MBie led mediation.
MWU members taking action
MWU members at TPL have put an overtime ban in place for work over 8 hours and weekend work. But TPL are striking back.
The recently elected Shed President, Claude, is being threatened with punishment for coming in early, in his own time, to support union members. The company says they are worried about his health and safety, because he doesn't get enough sleep.
Its Claude's job to look after MWU members and check on their well being. Any fair and reasonable company would get this, rather than targeting one delegate.
Taylor Preston MWU members are loyal, hardworking workers. They have contributed to the company's success.
And MWU members are speaking out for the first time in years.
They're saying we just want a fair deal.
Update : thankfully Claude Preston's job is safe. It's pleasing to see that some companies can work through processes and make the right decision.