Published: 30/03/2016
Unions have obtained access to the full accident records of the New Zealand meat processor Talleys/AFFCO group of companies, and the records show a further increase over the previous year’s horrific number of workers maimed and injured at the workplace.

Workers compensation claims for injury on the job were paid to 1773 workers throughout the Talleys Group of Companies in 2015, an increase of 220 workers from 2014. Over 1000 workers were injured at AFFCO and 350 at South Pacific Meats for a total increase of 240 workers over the previous year at these Talleys-owned meat companies.

The company failed to report an accident where a worker was required to clean up an offal spill without appropriate protective equipment. Offal matter entered his eye, causing poisoning so severe that the worker needed to have a heart valve replaced.

The accident in January this year involving a German tourist on a working visa is now known to be even more serious than initially reported: his head was crushed as he was dragged along the slaughter chain by a moving hook in the same area of the plant where the company was prosecuted for a previous life-threatening accident to an experienced worker,

The New Zealand Meat Workers Union is challenging Talleys’ ongoing fight against union rights and recognition, including the rights of workplace health and safety representatives. The union has had to return to the courts to contest the company’s March 7 layoff of all union members at the Rangiuru plant in flagrant violation of the law.