Meat workers take protest to Levin

TANYA WOOD
Last updated 17:57 08/12/2011
McDonalds

Wage protest: Freezing works staff protest over wage cuts outside Levin McDonald's.

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Protesters from a Marton freezing works were in Levin on Saturday afternoon, receiving support from "tooting" motorists in support of their walkout over 20 per cent pay cuts.

Up to 100 workers from the Canterbury Meat Packers (CMP) Rangitikei plant in Marton have been on strike since October 19, including Levin resident and union delegate Clinton Wilson.

One of 10 protesters standing on the hard shoulder of State Highway 1 outside McDonald's on Oxford St, Mr Wilson said workers who did not sign the new contract had been locked out of the plant.

He said the new contract offered by CMP, with a 20 per cent average pay cut, included cuts to allowances.

"We'd go back tomorrow if we were offered our old contracts with a 10 per cent cut," he said.

He said CMP, which exports all its meat overseas, is blaming the shortage of lamb, transport costs and declining overseas markets for the wage cuts.

CMP is owned by Anzco Foods, which had a $1.3 billion turnover last year, and is the main supplier of meat patties to McDonald's in New Zealand.

"Anzco made a billion dollar profit last year, so why cut our throats?"

A 2.5 per cent wage raise offered by CMP, effectively bringing the wage cut down to around 17.5 per cent, was rejected by union members.

ANZCO did not respond to questions sent by Horowhenua Mail.

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