Meat Workers News
Estonian meat workers strike 06-02-2018
Slaughterhouse workers at Rakvere, Estonia struck spontaneously in
October 2017 at the repeated refusal by their employer,
the Finnish transnational HK Scan, to offer a pay rise.
Following the strike the workers were organized by local union IMTAL
which is affiliated to the Estonian Trade Union confederation (EAKL).
The union entered into formal negotiations with HK Scan but the company
obstinately refused any pay increase.
A final attempt to negotiate a settlement on February 1 failed and the workers began a new strike on February 6.[read more]
NGG concludes bargaining for meat workers in Germany 05-02-2018
IUF affiliate the NGG has concluded difficult and lengthy negotiations
on an industry wide collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which sets
minimum working conditions in the meat sector. The CBA must now be
approved by the Bundestag, as the agreement is part of changes to the
Posting of Workers Act which sets the rules on migrant labour 'posted'
in Germany from other countries within the EU.[read more]
U.S. workers win safety campaign 01-02-2018
Poultry workers in the United States have won an important victory after
campaigning against a petition by the National Chicken Council to the
Food Safety and Inspection service (FSIS) to remove the maximum line
speed. They defeated a proposal that would have put workers at greater risk of injury and consumers at greater risk of illness.[read more]
U.S poultry workers at risk following proposed line speed increase 13-09-2017
U.S chicken companies are once again seeking US Department of
Agriculture (USDA) approval to increase line speeds from 140 to 170 birds
The move is strongly opposed by unions, academics and meat inspectors citing worker safety and food safety concerns.[read more]
JBS sells Moy Park to JBS! 13-09-2017
Brazilian meatpacker JBS, on an asset selling spree to pay fines after
executives admitted bribing politicians in Brazil, has announced it is
selling Northern Ireland based Moy Park to Pilgrims Pride, a company in
which JBS has a 78% shareholding.
Poultry processor Moy Park has
13 plants in the UK, Ireland, France and the Netherlands and processes
5.7 million birds per week. U.S. based Pilgrims Pride will use Moy Park
as a platform to expand its operations in Europe.[read more]
New Zealand meatworkers win long court battle over illegal lockout 13-09-2017
The New Zealand Supreme Court has dismissed Talley/Affco's challenge to the Court of Appeal ruling that the company unlawfully locked out workers at the beginning of the 2015-16 meat processing season.
Talleys/Affco argued that the workers were not employees at the time they were locked out due to the seasonal nature of employment. However the Supreme Court ruled that the company had obligations to re-hire workers in line with the existing union contract.[read more]
Tyson invests in antibiotic free chicken 13-09-2017
The U.S poultry giant will invest $320 million in a new complex at
Tonganoxie, Kansas to produce for its new No Antibiotics Ever (NAE)
brand. The facility will process 1.25 million chickens a week and employ
up to 1600 workers. [read more]
NGG achieves important protections for migrant workers in Germany 09-06-2017
As a result of campaigning by the IUF affiliate NGG, meat-processing
employers must now assume liability for the actions of their
subcontractors and for the payment of social security contributions.[read more]
Something rotten in the world's largest meat company 08-06-2017
Joesley and Wesley Batista, majority owners and controllers of JBS, have admitted bribing politicians and in a deal with prosecutors have agreed to pay USD3.2 billion in fines over the next 25 years. Joesley Batista provided prosecutors with a recording of Brazilian President Michel Temer endorsing the payment of a bribe by JBS to the former Speaker of the lower house of the Brazilian Congress, Eduardo Cunha, who was recently jailed for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.
The release of this recording has intensified a major political and economic crisis in Brazil.
Workers, who already subsidize corruption with their taxes, low wages and unsafe work places, stand to lose more through instability and crisis.[read more]
UFCW works with Tyson to create better and safer workplaces 02-05-2017
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the
primary union for 70,000 poultry workers in the United States, has
congratulated Tyson Foods for pledging to create a better workplace at
its production facilities with new and expanded initiatives on safety,
transparency, and compensation.[read more]
Spain: strike by poultry and rabbit processing workers brings employers back to the bargaining table 19-04-2017
National strike action on April 11-12 by poultry and rabbit slaughtering and process workers in Spain has brought the employers back to the bargaining table.[read more]
2 Sisters poultry plant to close, retaining jobs a union priority 13-04-2017
The news that the UK food company, 2 Sisters, is to close its Smethwick poultry plant in the West Midlands has been devastating for the 630 workers and their families.
Spanish workers strike against employer push to expand precarious work 12-04-2017
Spanish poultry and rabbit slaughtering and process workers have responded to an employer attack on their employment security with a two day national strike on April 11 and 12.
Striking workers are demanding that employers return to the negotiating table to strengthen stable employment, end subcontracting and improve wages.
Brazil: CNTA condemns the greed and corruption exposed in Operation Weak Flesh 22-03-2017
The IUF affiliated Brazilian National Food Industry Workers Confederation-CNTA(Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores nas Indústrias de Alimentação e Afins) has expressed outrage at the widespread corruption between the executives of major meat companies and the Ministry of Fishing and Agriculture, uncovered by federal police in an operation dubbed 'Weak Flesh' and which may have led to the export and domestic sales of rotten meat. [read more]
New Zealand Meat Workers Union reaches agreement with Talleys/AFFCO 06-03-2017
Members of the New Zealand Meat Workers Union (NZMWU) have voted
overwhelmingly in favour of a new collective bargaining agreement with
Talleys/AFFCO. The Agreement follows a two year fight with their
employer which included a 5 month lockout at the processing plant in the
town of Wairoa, the dismissal and reinstatement of union leaders,
various court proceedings and a refusal by the company to recognize the
union for the purposes of collective bargaining.[read more]
Spanish affiliates fight bogus self employment 13-02-2017
The Spanish Parliament has approved a legal change that will prevent
companies from outsourcing the most important parts of production to
false cooperatives and employment agencies. The change will make working
hours, salaries and social security at least the equivalent of those
prescribed in collective bargaining agreements that apply to employees.[read more]
SEC investigates chicken pricing as Tyson reports solid profit. 13-02-2017
The U.S. meat giant Tyson has acknowledged that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating its chicken pricing practices following allegations that the company conspired for years with its competitors, including Pilgrim's Pride(JBS) and Sanderson Farms, to keep prices artificially high through buying each other's products and shipping excess breeding stock to Mexico.
UFCW Locals settle collective bargaining agreements with major meat companies 01-02-2017
In the second half of 2016, U.S. affiliate the UFCW settled a number of
local collective bargaining agreements with JBS, Tyson, Smithfield and
Cargill. In a tough bargaining environment the union was able to protect
pension and health insurance plans for its members and negotiate
regular wage increases throughout the 5 year term of the agreements.[read more]
U.S. Refugee and Migrant policies will impact meat sector 01-02-2017
The meat packing industry in the United States will be seriously
impacted by President Trump's four month freeze on the nation's refugee
programme and the 90 day ban on entry from seven predominantly Muslim
states in the Middle East. [read more]
European meat affiliates demand action to stop abuses 25-10-2016
On October 19, the German Food Workers Union NGG organized a conference for IUF European meat affiliates at Rheda-Wiedenbrück, where Tönnies, Germany's largest meat processor is based. According to the NGG, 3500 of the 4000 employees in the production line at the local factory are employed under temporary work contracts.[read more]
NZ Meat Workers Union wins again in Court 06-10-2016
After the New Zealand Employment Court ruled last February that the Talleys/AFFCO brutal 5 month lockout of union members was illegal, the company appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal- and lost again.
Meanwhile in a separate case another Talleys owned meat company (Land Meat NZ) has been fined NZ$15,000 and ordered to enter into an arrangement to enter collective bargaining with the union within 6 weeks.
IUF Meat Division develops work plan 06-10-2016
The Meat Division seeks cooperation between affiliates in reversing the trend towards outsourcing and the use of employment agencies to supply labour, and in investigating and publicizing any links between worker health and safety and food safety.[read more]
UK High Court awards damages to poultry workers who were trafficked and enslaved 14-06-2016
The company forced workers to pay them prohibited fees, unlawfully withheld wages, calculated payment on the number of chickens caught rather than on time worked and traveling time, and failed to ensure adequate facilities for workers to wash, rest, eat and drink.[read more]
U.S. poultry workers find health and safety protection by organizing. 08-06-2016
Two recent reports have again highlighted the dangerous and undignified working conditions in many poultry processing plants in the United States.
The healthy and safe exceptions are primarily in plants that have unions, which offer important protections, inform workers of their rights, and ensure they have a voice on the job. [read more]
Talleys/Affco meat tainted by workplace injuries and union-busting 03-05-2016
The New Zealand meat company Talleys/Affco has intensified attempts to eliminate the New Zealand Meat Workers Union as it continues to injure record numbers of workers.[read more]
Germany: Dismissals and Uncertainty Following a Fire in a Poultry Plant 18-04-2016
International solidarity with embattled workers at New Zealand rights abuser Talleys/AFFCO 11-04-2016
IUF affiliates in Asia/Pacific have been holding rolling actions to show solidarity and support for the New Zealand Meatworkers' Union fighting for union rights and safe working conditions at Talleys/AFFCO
. Through the IUF, unions in Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand have been demonstrating their support. The dozens of actions involve workers in dairy, fast food, fishing, sugar, food processing and agriculture and unions in transnational companies including Coca-Cola, Danone, Nestlé and Unilever.[read more]
Work at rights-buster Talleys/AFFCO more dangerous than ever 30-03-2016
Talleys AFFCO, prosecuted for health and safety violations, lays off union members 07-03-2016
The District Court in New Zealand has ruled that serial rights abuser Talleys/AFFCO failed to meet its statutory obligations to provide a safe workplace after an experienced worker was impaled by a meat hook and dragged along the line at the company's Rangiuru plant.
Talleys/AFFCO lockout lifted by court order, rights abuses continue 26-02-2016
Members of the New Zealand Meat Workers Union began returning to work at the Talleys/AFFCO Wairoa plant on February 22 following a court decision ordering the company to end the brutal 5-month lockout of union workers.[read more]
Tyson's income surges on the back of low wages, wage theft, denied sick leave and discrimination 16-02-2016
Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center (NWAWJC) released a report describing the appalling conditions and everyday struggles that face poultry workers. To bring about lasting change in the poultry sector, workers must organize. [read more]
JBS Chairman charged with crimes against the financial system. 12-02-2016
Despite a denial from the company that Chairman Joesley Batista or any other executives of the world's largest meat processor were involved in the transaction, the news sparked a sell off in shares.[read more]
Workplace slaughter and rights abuses continue at Talleys/AFFCO 01-02-2016
According to the New Zealand government's Accident Compensation Corporation, nearly 5,000 Talley's workers have been awarded over USD 4.7 million in compensation for workplace accidents over the last three years; 1,286 Talley's workers were injured on the job in 2014 alone. [read more]
Lockout, dismissals, intimidation - serial rights abuses by New Zealand meat company Talleys/AFFCO 18-01-2016
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. CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO TALLEYS/AFFCO![read more]
Strengthening union organization in the meat sector 21-10-2015
IUF affiliates from the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific gathered in Chicago on October 13-14 for the 3rd IUF global meat conference. Participants endorsed a proposal for the establishment of an IUF meat division within the structures of the IUF to assist increasing union membership and strength and building effective union coordination on organizing and bargaining at all levels. [read more]
UFCW action prompts US workplace safety agency to cite poultry producers for ergonomic hazards 06-07-2015
Safety complaints from UFCW members at the Allen Harim chicken processing plant at Harbeson, Delaware were upheld in June by OSHA, which found that workers are exposed to "excessive force and exertion, repetitive motions and awkward postures resulting in ergonomic stressors" leading to crippling repetitive strain injuries[read more]
Meat giant goes on a shopping spree 02-07-2015
What do you do when your sales revenue exceeds USD 50billion a year? You go shopping!
Three major acquisitions were made by JBS within a year.
NZ meat company AFFCO Talleys threatens worker after she seeks support from her MP 07-05-2015
AFFCO Talleys which locked out its workforce for several months in 2012, has threatened a butcher who has 15 years service with the company that she may not be re-hired after she approached her MP for support.
Australia: meat workers stood down, migrants cast adrift 07-05-2015
Meat companies are increasingly employing migrant workers on temporary work visas to fill job vacancies in the seasonal Australian lamb processing sector.
When lines and plants close due to supply and demand factors migrant workers are particularly hard hit. [read more]
Health care protected in agreement with JBS 10-04-2015
Following six months of negotiations and campaigning, the workers union of the meat industry Criciuma region (SINTIACR), part of the IUF Brazilian affiliate CONTAC, has achieved a good outcome in their collective bargaining with JBS.[read more]
NUW fights for the rights of workers exploited by poultry company while on holiday in Australia 13-03-2015
to sign the union petition to demand payment to dozens of backpackers who are owed tens of thousands in backpay! B&E poultry should abide by Australian workplace law and stop exploiting workers on holiday in Australia that have language barriers or a lack of Australian workplace knowledge.
NUW calls for direct hire employment in the poultry industry. 04-02-2015
The abuse of migrant workers employed by labour hire contractors in Australia has again been exposed by the IUF affiliated National Union of Workers (NUW)[read more]
NZ Meat Workers campaign for secure jobs 17-12-2014
More than 20,000 meat workers provide their labour for this critical NZ export industry which contributes significantly to the wealth of the country.
However labour standards have declined in a traditional seasonal industry to the point where dangerous jobs, casual and zero hours contracts, and increasing pressure on workers to join non-union individual agreements are increasingly prevalent.[read more]
Argentine, Brazilian unions and governments agree to work together to promote union rights in the meat sector 03-12-2014
At the initiative of the IUF Latin American Region(REL-UITA), a meeting of meat unions and government officials from Argentina and Brazil was convened in Buenos Aires on November 27 where a groundbreaking agreement was signed to promote cooperation and assistance in government labour policies and on the elimination of human trafficking.
JBS strengthens its dominance of Australian meat industry 21-11-2014
JBS, the world's largest meat processor, and the largest distributor of fresh meat products in Australia, has announced the acquisition of the Primo Group,the largest producer of small goods in Australia and New Zealand.[read more]
Trans-Atlantic solidarity for union activist dismissed by Hormel 07-11-2014
The IUF Danish affiliate NNF expressed solidarity with Jen Pulaski and the UFCW by publicizing her case to members and requesting that Danish company Tulip, owned by Danish Crown, protest to Hormel about the dismissal of a union activist. Tulip manufactures Spam products for Hormel.[read more]
NUW exposes exploitation and rights violations in Australian poultry industry 25-10-2014
The union discovered that when Pedro was hired with little knowledge of the English language and even less knowledge of Australian workplace laws in 2007, he had been hoodwinked into becoming an independent contractor, with no minimum hourly wage, penalty rates, holidays, sick leave or superannuation and was responsible for paying his own tax. He earned less than the minimum wage with no entitlements.[read more]
No increase in line speeds in USDA Poultry Modernization Rule 04-08-2014
After intense lobbying by labor unions, food safety groups and the civil rights community, the proposed increase in line speeds to 175 birds a minute has been dropped and the current maximum rate of 140 birds a minute maintained.[read more]
Sick consumers and injured workers: the price of cheap chicken 29-07-2014
UK affiliate Unite the Union has called for increased numbers of food inspectors in the wake of the Guardian
newspaper expose on the serious food safety risks throughout the poultry industry supply chain.[read more]
Strikes averted as UFCW wins new union contract with JBS 11-06-2014
Members of the UFCW local 1161 at the pork processing plant at Worthington, Minnesota have secured a new 5 year union contract after spending 11 months at the negotiating table. [read more]