Ex-meat workers get $40k compensation
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 1:28p.m.
Fourteen meat workers made redundant after the closure of a Canterbury meat processing plant will receive compensation totalling $40,500 after their employer failed to follow fair process in their dismissal.
The workers at South Pacific Meat's (SPM) Malvern plant lost their jobs in October 2010.
They were dismissed after SPM failed to reach an agreement with Progressive Enterprises to supply meat to its South Island supermarkets and retail outlets, forcing the closure of the plant.
The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has found that while the job losses were justified, parts of the process followed by SPM in making the redundancies were unfair.
The workers, who were members of the Meat Workers' Union, were told of the redundancies on September 6, two days after the first Canterbury earthquake.
The union was also in the midst of negotiations over a new collective agreement when SPM gave notice of the impending redundancies.
The workers weren't given the opportunity to consider the offer on the table against the likelihood of redundancy if they did not accept it, the ERA said.
The workers had been under the impression the parties would be returning to the bargaining table in a few days.
The ERA found SPM breached its consultation and good faith obligations in this respect.
SPM has been ordered to pay a total of $40,500 in compensation to the 14 workers.
A 15th worker was in hospital at the time of the hearing and is yet to have his evidence heard.
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