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Date updated : 13-Jan-2016

Status: closed

© 2016 IUF

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Lockout, dismissals, intimidation - serial rights abuses by New Zealand meat company Talleys/AFFCO

Two hundred workers at AFFCO, the New Zealand meat company owned by the anti-union Talley family, have been locked out since June last year for resisting the company's brutal push to replace negotiated collective agreements with individual contracts. Talleys/AFFCO is also punishing union members and workplace representatives with suspensions and dismissals.

Throughout 2015, the New Zealand Meat Workers Union (NZMWU) attempted to negotiate an agreement with AFFCO to replace the collective agreement negotiated only after a lengthy lockout in 2012. Last June AFFCO began pressuring employees on seasonal layoff to give up their union-negotiated pay and conditions by insisting that employees could only continue working at the company on individual employment contracts. Two hundred workers at the company's plant in Wairoa refused to do so and have been locked out of their jobs ever since.

The New Zealand Employment Court has determined that, by compelling the workers to sign individual contracts and undermining the union, AFFCO has acted illegally, but the court-ordered mediation process has been unable to deliver a solution owing to the company's fundamental refusal to negotiate.

AFFCO stepped up its anti-union aggression in the week beginning December 14, when three workers at the Talleys plant in Rangiuru were suspended for wearing union shirts to and from work. On December 23, two Rangiuru workplace union leaders were dismissed on bogus breach of health and safety charges after going to work before their normal shift time to talk with union members in need of support.

AFFCO/Talleys are trying to destroy collective bargaining and union representation with a lockout, dismissals and intimidation, even dictating to employees what they can wear to and from work. USE THE FORM BELOW to tell Talleys to end the Wairoa lockout, reinstate the workplace union leaders, fully respect trade union rights and engage in good faith negotiations for a collective agreement!