AFFCO workers win

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, November 18th, 2015 - 23 comments
Categories: Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

A win for workers at the Wairoa freezing works with a lockout ruled illegal:

Wairoa meat workers lock out deemed illegal

A lockout of Wairoa freezing workers who refused to sign individual contracts has been deemed illegal.

The Employment Court issued a statement on Tuesday saying the AFFCO plant unlawfully breached the Employment Act by locking out 170 staff who refused to sign new individual contracts.

It also said AFFCO, owned by Talley’s, failed to act in good faith towards the workers while collective bargaining was still in progress.

The Meat Workers Union, which has been negotiating for the workers, labelled the decision a “victory”.

The union would be looking closely at the full decision, expected to be released on Wednesday, and it would consider all remedies including compensation.

23 comments on “AFFCO workers win”

  1. esoteric pineapples 1

    I guess John Key and his cabinet will be thinking about how they can stuff the Employment Court with their own people now.

    • Peter 1.1

      …. sad, but not beyond the realm of possibilities

      • Aspasia 1.1.1

        Judith Collins has already tried this. After the Court’s decisions during the Ports of Auckland strikes and lockouts the court was to be downgraded to a Distrct Court. After Collins fell, the Courts Bill was enacted with the status quo prevailing. But picking “friendly” judges is a fraught art, as many American Presidents have found to their cost with their Supreme Court. And the Employment Court had a lot of practice at being staunch all through the 1990s. We have had some excellent decisions since then about good faith bargaining, good faith and redundancy, 90 day trial periods, justifying redundancy, the Equal Pay Act and the Ports injunction. The serious attacks at present have been on the members of the Authority (appointed on two yearly contracts so very vulnerable) and on the outstanding mediation service (already merged with tenancy mediators so losing specialist expertise) who are currently being “restructured”.

  2. Ad 2

    Awesome work from the Unions there, and I sincerely hope that the Maori lrunholders who were called on to boycott Talley’s for supply do so.

    I never, ever buy Talley’s anything at the supermarket. Not a single pea.

    • mac1 2.1

      “I never, ever buy Talley’s anything at the supermarket. Not a single pea.”

      Ditto. I suppose though, thinking about it, that we should tell ’em that we’re boycotting them for their terrible industrial relations.

      So, Talley’s- get the message. (The Talleys do read the Standard, don’t they?)

      • liberty 2.1.1

        (The Talleys do read the Standard, don’t they?)
        I doubt it. Too busy finding work for hundreds of people.

        • tracey

          so you are an advocate for picking and choosing which laws a company wants to follow?

        • Trey

          Don’t you mean “exploiting 100’s of workers or endangering the lives of 100’s of workers with piss poor health and safety practices?” or “making the families and children of 100’s of workers suffer by illegal lockouts?” They have been very busy doing all those things.

        • Pat

          lmao….they are the company you work for when you can’t find employment anywhere else….that has been their reputation for years….its nice to see a speed bump in the race to the bottom.

  3. Penny Bright 3

    That’s great news.

    Well done.

    Penny Bright

  4. savenz 4

    Nice one. Forcing people to sign an employment contract is NOT ok!

    • Atiawa 4.1

      Especially when their union is in negotiations to renew the expired agreement. However every day of the week, workers desperate for a job sign individual employment agreements (IEA’s) on a take it or leave it basis, no negotiation, most with a 90 day fire at will trial period clause and usually with more employer flexibility than a contortionist in a circus. Oh, but we must not campaign for a return to compulsory unionism. That would upset the “freedom of choice brigade”.
      I say fuck them. I’m sick of the race to the bottom because like a “match fixer” we know who the winners will be/are.

    • North 4.2

      Indeed it’s against the law in the style Talleys have done it. There is piss all ‘union’ at Moerewa now. None maybe. Talleys has broken the law there too arguably.

      Time for the knighthood to be clawed back. But of course Big Talley has too much dirt on the National Party……so no.

  5. tracey 5

    Given how much the Employment Laws ahve moved under this Government to more favour of employers than before, some still just can’t help flout them for increased profit.

    These families have been put through incredible stresses, partnerships broken and so on. The toll is huge and “we” (not Talleys) have had to try and support them.

  6. NZSage 6

    I spoke with one of the Talley workers on the steps of Parliament yesterday.

    A quiet unassuming man who clearly loves his town and his family. He told me he felt Talleys were destroying both or in other words, all that he holds dear.

    It’s a sad indictment on our government when they knight people who are responsible for such actions.

    • Tiger Mountain 6.1

      well done to Talleys workers, hope the full decision gets you all back to work on acceptable terms

      agree about the knighting of “Sir Talley” which you might conclude had something to do with Talleys generous donations to the Nats who have enacted ever more restrictive labour laws since 2008 which Talleys have then tried to use to maximum effect!

  7. McFlock 7

    Good work 🙂

  8. upnorth 8

    I think you find both parties need to start again – from what I read is that is to recommence. it is fair simple.

  9. Red lion Seratus 9

    Grand ruling by the Court,may many more flow fourth in a cascade!

  10. Important to understand that this victory applies to all AFFCO sheds, including those who went back to work on oppressive IEAs. They too were unlawfully locked out in a shameless attempt to force AFFCO workers to accept the company claims. The decision is far reaching : it changes decades old case law that seasonal workers are not continuous workers in between seasons ; and says they are employees even during the lay off. The breach of good faith finding means that AFFCO’s proceedings against the union to try to end the bargaining cannot succeed and that has been adjourned sine die. AFFCO have been given seven days to “put right their wrongs” or there will be court orders. The Court is now in control of the bargaining.

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