New Zealand lamb producer CMP ANZCO locks out 111 workers
Members of the New Zealand Meat Workers Union at CMP ANZCO have been targeted by a particularly vicious form of union busting which is being practiced more and more in IUF sectors across the globe. It works like this: an employer proposes radical changes to terms and conditions in CBA negotiations, then goes through the motions of bargaining with the union while actually just biding time, then locks out the workers in an attempt to force a signature on an essentially non-negotiated agreement.
The NZMWU have been in CBA renegotiations with CMP at its lamb processing plant in the town of Marton in the southwestern part of New Zealand's North Island since April 2011. The company, claiming financial difficulties, has proposed such outrageous cuts in pay, bonuses and allowances and an increase in working time without overtime pay that no agreement could be reached. The proposals amount to cuts of more than 20% in overall pay for workers!
On 3 October, the company issued a lockout notice due to take effect on 19 October unless the union agreed to all their demands for cuts in wages and working conditions and shift pattern changes.
The week before the lockout notice, the company put the workforce on annual leave and used this time to contact workers at home and induce them to sign individual agreements containing the new terms and conditions. In the absence of their union representatives, some 100 workers gave in to this intimidation and signed. These workers were also forced to leave the union before signing the individual agreements.
On 19 October, the remaining 111 workers were locked out.
Despite this brutal treatment of their workers, CMP admits that its financial difficulties are due solely to management miscalculations and poor decision-making.
Trying to move the company to be reasonable, the workers have since offered to take a 10% pay cut, which will have huge implications for them, but the company has rejected this offer and the lockout continues.