Meatworkers fight for conditions

Last updated 05:00 01/03/2012

Relevant offers


Low dairy payout drains $7.5b from NZ economy Southland farmer fined $36,000 for Oreti River changes Navigating the highway during peak milk Numbers of bobby calf deaths fall this season Wet spring weather squeezes milk production Edendale milk silo collapse cost set to hit $45 million - Mercer Westland shareholders critical of company direction Bobby calf cruelty home detention sentence hangs in the balance Entries slow coming for Marlborough young farmer awards Extra staff and water crucial for dairy farm production boost

While meat workers recognise business is getting tougher for Affco they're not about to be forced into unreasonable working conditions, said a 25-year veteran of the company's Moerewa plant.

All 1460 residents of the small Northland town are bracing for hardship as 122 union workers were locked out yesterday due to ongoing wrangling over a new collective agreement.

They represent almost 70 per cent of Affco's workforce and around 8 per cent of Moerewa's estimated overall population.

Northland has the country's highest unemployment rate – 8.3 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand figures.

Affco, now privately owned by the Talley family, issued the lock-out notice to the New Zealand Meat Workers Union on Tuesday for an "indefinite" period, affecting 762 workers across plants at Moerewa, Manawatu, Imlay, Horotiu and Wairoa.

About 30 union workers had been kept on at the Moerewa plant in addition to those on individual contracts, said the plant's Meatworkers' Union secretary, Laurie Nankivell, who has been working there since 1977.

Nankivell said the union's stand wasn't about money, but about maintaining working conditions and collective contract rights.

But the lockout would have a huge effect on the community as it was the area's biggest employer by far.

Nankivell had organised Work and Income New Zealand seminars at the Moerewa Rugby Club to help affected workers assess their income options.

He said he would also deliver updates on the union's position and the process of mediation at the meeting. Fairfax NZ

Ad Feedback


Special offers
Opinion poll

Is it time for authorities to introduce tougher penalties for poaching?



Vote Result

Related story: Booby traps for poachers cost farmers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Agri e-editions

Digital editions

Read our rural publications online