Affco blames union for workers' hardship
Fri, 11 May 2012 8:50p.m.
A meat processing company embroiled in a lengthy labour dispute has hit out at a union seeking public donations for its striking members.
Affco says an appeal by Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly for funds is misguided as it was partly responsible for their adversity.
The union on Friday said the lockout was causing hardship for hundreds of Affco workers who wanted to get back to work.
"They are hard working, loyal families who just want to work. Affco want to starve these families into submission," Ms Kelly said.
But Affco says the union was the one causing the hardship with it choosing blanket strike action across all its members.
In a statement it said it had provided numerous offers to the Meat Workers' Union get back to work which had been rejected.
"The union is forcing hardship on its members with the ongoing strikes," Affco said.
It said around 350 workers remained locked out after it lifted lockout notices for 300 workers earlier this month.
The parties are to enter facilitation in an attempt to resolve the labour wrangle after attempts at mediation failed.
The dispute, which affects eight North Island meat plants, extended to Motueka this week when about 40 meatworkers picketed outside the homes of the Talley family which owns Affco.
Mana Party MP Hone Harawira has called for a boycott of Talley's products and a Ngapuhi leader urged Maori farmers to also consider a ban on sending stock to Affco meatworks.
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12/05/2012 11:46:43 a.m.
Harawira really hasn't thought it through. If AFFCO products are boycotted will there be more or less employment for the union members? Eventually Talleys will have to make some concessions and the unions will have to meet them half way. Helen Kelly will no doubt stuff that up royally as she has never shown any interest in the workers well being, just her position as a noisy old fashioned labour organizer.
12/05/2012 11:24:49 a.m.
Union officials give their best advice to their members and do not take part in any vote to decide industrial action. Unions hold affiliations to political parties because Governments make laws that affect workers rights & lives.I have worked in Affco meat works and know through first hand experience that the union runs meetings democratically and with total transparency.The work was hard and skilled and pay rates were based on daily tallies (#'s) been achieved.
The meat industry needs to get its own house in order rather then victimising its workers. A single desk seller regime would be a good place to start.
12/05/2012 10:41:26 a.m.
Reading between the lines from AFFCO (Talley's). The message is loud and clear. Do what we want, we will pay you what we want. Or else, we will lock you out. AFFCO (Talley's) want to set employment relations back 200 years.
12/05/2012 10:15:04 a.m.
How much are the union organisers getting paid per week?...after all it's an easy position to negotiate and play hardball when YOU are still being paid a healthy salary....perhaps the meat workers that pay their union dues week in week out should be asking 'what are we paying these guys in salary?'....or more to the point, 'how much are these guys TAKING in salary?', methinks the workers would boot the union into touch when they hear it's most likely a six figure salary!...Union bosses have never been for the 'workers' mearly their own political gains and posturing, just look at how many ex union bosses are Labour/Green MP's...think about it.
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