The Talleys and National Party linked Open Country Cheese continues to show its contempt for the law as it attempts to break the Dairy Workers Union.
You’ll be aware that Open Country laid down a six week lockout notice to try and force workers to leave the union. So far it hasn’t worked and on Friday the lockout notice was struck down by the Employment Court, which ruled it unlawful. The judge reserved his decision on whether the strike-breaking labour used during the lockout was also unlawful.
Open Country has reacted by instead suspending the workers (in effect continuing the lockout) on the grounds that they are investigating “environmental sabotage” in relation to the spill of dairy sludge into a nearby river. That’s the spill that was caused by the poorly trained strike-breaking labour used during the lockout, and it’s not the first time Open Country has been caught wilfully damaging the enivronment.
The company has absurdly tried to blame union members, despite them being literally locked out of the premises at the time, and is using this as a pretext to effectively continue its unlawful lockout. It’s also being used as a public relations tool to try and smear the union, following the pattern we’ve seen throughout this dispute from the Talleys’ high-priced PR firm, Lindenberg & Partners of Remuera.
Make no mistake, the company’s goal here is to casualise the dairy industry and to do that they need to drive out the union. They’ll even pay their workers to be suspended while the company “investigates” its own environmental damage if it helps to break workers’ confidence and wear down their solidarity.
This is a born to rule elite that thinks it’s above the law and can treat its workers like peasants. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these people should not be allowed to do business in New Zealand.