web analytics

Meatworkers win

Written By: - Date published: 7:21 am, May 22nd, 2012 - 38 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

News in that Talley’s/AFFCO and the Meatworkers reached an agreement at 5am this morning. The workers will keep their wage and job security provisions and still be covered by a collective contract. These things are never a complete victory but Talley’s appear to have won little for a dispute that has cost them and their workers’ families millions. Next time, they’ll think twice before attacking their workers.

The strength of spirit of the thousand plus workers and their families have displayed to stand strong while one rich family tried to bully and extort them into handing over some of what little wealth they have is astounding. I know the tens of thousands of dollars donated by New Zealanders up and down the country, along with payments from their union brothers and sisters via the CTU, have been absolutely vital in keeping these families going. As has the support of iwi, who have not only provided practical support to the families but have flexed their economic muscle as well by threatening a boycott of Talley’s/AFFCO by Maori farmers and even mooted setting up a competing network of meatworks.

At the end of the day, a dispute like this comes down to who can take the pain longer, and who has most to lose. The workers had the most to lose because accepting the bosses’ demands would have been the end of the union and a ticket to lower wages and casualisation. With the help of iwi, the union movement, and ordinary New Zealanders, they have shown they could bear the pain longer than Talley’s/AFFCO could bear to lose millions in revenue.

And we owe our thanks to the meatworkers, as well as the wharfies at Ports of Auckland. There’s no doubt that these two vicious attacks on workers by their bosses were the opening salvos in a broader attack on workers’ rights, supported and abetted by National with further undermining of our work rights.

Both Talley’s/AFFCO and Ports of Auckland have come away with bloody noses and the reputations of their senior managers in tatters. That will be noted by bosses up and down this country. Had Talley’s/AFFCO and PoAL won, it would have been open season on workers’ rights and pay. Instead, the lesson is: don’t mess with unions and don’t mess with workers.

The bosses and their shills should take some time to absorb that lesson before they attack New Zealand’s working families again.

And the meatworkers should stand a little taller today as they return to work today. They have done themselves and all working New Zealanders proud.

Kia kaha.

38 comments on “Meatworkers win ”

  1. tc 1

    Great news now watch shonkey and the hollowmen proxies makes moves on the law to weaken the unions and alter the outcome next time this happens. It’s a learning game to them whereas it’s the only game to the workers, be vigilant people.

    Well done to everyone involved, a fight that had to be won for the workers.

  2. Hateatea 2

    Excellent news to log on to but I think that I will continue to boycott Talleys. The damage done to those whānau and their communities will be felt for many, many more months and I am sure no compensation will be paid by Talleys to get people back on their feet

    • felix 2.1

      Me too.

    • muzza 2.2

      Because Talleys are made in NZ, I bought their frozen vege to support NZ made over those that are not…

      Anyone know which other frozen veges are made in NZ, who don’t treat their workers with utter disrespect?

      Pleasing to see this outcome, however this is not where it will rest!

    • Rodel 2.3

      Hateata Me too. Wouldn’t touch Talleys after what I’ve learnt from this site.

    • burt 2.4

      Boycotting Talleys could result in workers being laid off. A well organised effective mass boycott could possibly get most of them laid off in less than 6 months.

      I get the boycott when the workers are on strike or locked out – but the workers via their union have accepted the deal so solidarity, and all that, surely says you should now bite down on it.

      • felix 2.4.1

        The issues with Talleys go a lot deeper than one lockout burt.

        And what happened to your free market principles? If consumer choices really do hurt Talleys so much that they can’t stay in business, then they obviously shouldn’t be in business and someone else will fill the gap in the market to meet demand.

  3. Good stuff. But you can bet the Tallys, like rust, will not sleep.

    They may see National’s proposed Industrial Relations law changes as another way to achieve what they want. 

    Wrecking collective agreements in the name of “flexibility” is what they want to achieve.

    It is great that the Trade Union movement has won this particular battle but the war is not yet over … 

  4. Carol 4

    Great news about one battle won. Take time to celebrate, and then regroup – it’s only just begun.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Next time, they’ll think twice before attacking their workers.

    No they won’t. What they’ll do is lobby this government for a law change that will put more power in their hands and probably get that law change and then they’ll attack again.

    • burt 5.1

      The we get a change of government and the legislation swings back the other way and non-union people say; “What they’ll do is lobby this government for a law change that will put more power in their hands and probably get that law change and then they’ll attack again.”.

      • Fat chance. Labour has never adequately undone the damage previous National governments do to employment law.

        • fatty

          Too true…the ERA 2000 that replaced the ECA 1991 did little more then entrench the loss of employment rights. I hate the concept of good faith bargaining…its a sham

  6. ad 6

    Such fantastic news. Shoutout to everyone who held the line.

  7. Carol 7

    Interesting interview with a Talley’s worker just on RNZ. She said she was a little nervous about going back to work, but was glad it was over. She’d been planning to head to Aussie if the dispute wasn’t settled, like many others in her area.

    Great – Greedy corporates and their government backers, pressuring workers to leave for Aussie where workers have stronger unions.

    • muzza 7.1

      So once workers are driven away from NZ in certain sectors…what happens once the tide goes out in OZ? Be interesting to see how strong unions remain in OZ once the sucking effect hits them properly!

      Western countries with labour laws, health and safety laws and the like, can’t compete now, so they won’t be able to compete in future either!

      Who will turn this around?

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        No one. All the political parties are capitalist and free market leaning. The markets and the margins for the few come first, communities and societies come a poor second.

        • muzza

          Indeed, and yet still people are desperately engaging into a system in the hope that it might change direction.

          I wonder when people will start to accept that the wholesale co-opting of global governments and the systems that are meant to support the people of those countries, is not that difficult to have achieved…and it happened while they continue to think, its all just “stuff” that happens!

          Some people still can’t get their heads around the simple truth that the banking system is the root cause of almost every problem going around!

          Control the money, control “everything”!

          • Tiger Mountain

            The corporates can run but they can’t hide forever. When the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) workers get substantially organised, and the US and Europe re-organised our capitalist friends will be stuffed, but can that happen before the planet is stuffed, is the question.

  8. Luk 8

    Finally some good comes out of the Iwi Leaders Group, thought they were a total bunch of government hacks, but this shows they have some links back to the flaxroots. Or am I being sucked in by the PR and they were a convenient way for Affco to lose without saving face.
    Maybe the cynic in me says Affco figured fight not worth it when govt is changing law soon to make it much easier for them

  9. Malcolm 9

    Hi Eddie,

    Can I point out that you have fallen into the same pattern as the bourgeois media by reporting on this dispute as all settled. The proposed agreement needs to be ratified by union members. They may or may not agree that they have quite won yet.

    [cheers but I’m well aware the agreement needs ratification, that’s why I said an agreement had been reached between the union and the bosses, not that the dispute is settled. The union members interviewed across media have all expressed support for it. Ratification seems extremely likely. It’s like the budget. When English presents it on Thursday, we’ll all say ‘the govt has presented its budget’ and analysis it as if it is what the actual budget will be for the next year. of course, the budget won’t pass until its third reading if a majority of the house backs it some weeks later and, in theory, National MPs or their support partners could cross the floor and vote it down. But it would be bizarre to not cover the budget until the third reading on that basis. Eddie]

    • Aren’t votes for the budget done by party, Eddie? If so National MPs cannot cross the floor.

      I would love to be wrong about that though! 🙂

    • Malcolm 9.2

      By all means cover it but I think it needs pointing out it is not settled until ratified. I couldn’t see any mention of this in your post. (Having just re-read it I still can’t.) The way your post is worded make it seem like it is all done and dusted. This can also be said about lots of other comments made by sympathetic commentators yesterday morning. I understand people are happy about a possible settlement and want to celebrate but it should be done a bit more cautiously. We don’t know what the membership feels about the proposed deal yet. No doubt they are very keen to get back to work but they may not like it at all …..

  10. Guest 10

    What the Ports of Auckland and Talleys didn’t realize is the level of support the workers would get from the Union and the public.

  11. The bosses and their shills should take some time to absorb that lesson before they attack New Zealand’s working families again.

    I think National’s planned labour law changes demonstrate that the lessons have already been learned and future union-busting activities will rely on the govt’s heavy weaponry for success.

    • tc 11.1

      Yup, more lessons learned so next time the NACT gov’t big guns can be used by the owners and management to their own end.

      • Psycho Milt 11.1.1

        That’s what I’m thinking. For the employers, the obvious lesson to draw from these two disputes is that they’re likely to fail expensively when trying to break a union under labour law that’s still largely as Labour left it, so it’s time to start bending the ears of their (and I mean “their”) representatives in govt about the need for that law to get friendlier to union-busting employers.

  12. Stephen D 12

    I remember being in the Meat Workers union back in the 1970s.
    Makes me proud to once have belonged.

  13. Kevin 13

    Excellent news for the workers and the families who have been affected by this lockout and a great result for the team who negotiated this return to work, special mention to Tainui for playing an integral role in getting the parties talking.

    • higherstandard 13.1

      “….special mention to Tainui (and others) for playing an integral role in getting the parties talking.”

      You’re on to it, without the intervention of the likes of Ken Mair, Tukoroirangi Morgan and Sonny Tau there wouldn’t have been any progress.

  14. Union Hard 14

    I would like to thank all the people on this site with their words of support and donations of money which helped us during the lockout ,we could not not have done it without your help

  15. BillODrees 15

    POL              0.     Union                 1
    Talleys          0.     Union                 1 
    Natz.            0.      Union                 1
    Self interest   0.     Collective Interest 1


Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago