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Talleys Jump the Shark!

Written By: - Date published: 9:36 pm, April 28th, 2016 - 68 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, capitalism, class war, discrimination, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

NZ’s worst employer, Talley’s, have been moaning to the Employment Relations Authority that the Meat Workers Union have been mean and nasty to them. They want the court to order the union to stop telling the truth about how they brutalise their employees. Laughably, they say that the union’s use of social media to highlight the company’s many, many breaches of employment law is not ‘good faith’ behaviour.

The irony of that claim is almost beyond parody. This is the organisation that locks out workers who choose to join the union, who have been found to have breached hundreds of worker’s employment rights by not recognising their collective agreement and has illegally barred MWU officials from visiting their processing plants.

If Talley’s knows anything about good faith, it’s only that having loads of money means you can ignore your obligations in that area. So how have they jumped the shark?

They’ve gone to the court to demand that Darien Fenton, the union’s remarkably persistent Director of Organising, be effectively sacked. She’s done such a good job, they want the court to order that she not be allowed to continue doing such a good job. They want the right to determine which union officials can be used by the union.In the past, that’s been something only union members got to decide. But democracy’s such an old fashioned concept, right?

Bear in mind that they routinely bar MWU officials from doing their job anyway, no matter who they are, and were, indeed, recently fined a whopping $144,000 for repeated breaches of union access rights.  In addition, they’ve been ordered to pay that sum directly to the Meat Workers Union, not the court. A penalty that large is almost without precedent in NZ employment law. Ordering that it be paid to the union is equally unusual. By the way, in that case, Talley’s have decided to appeal.  Not the decision, mind you, just the amount. They accept they are bastards, but they just want to carry on being bastards on the cheap.

 

But back to the current situation.

The Talley’s workers have cleverly and effectively used social media to organise.  Union (and non union) workers talk to each other around their issues and disputes on blogs, facebook, instagram and the like. They share stories, they offer support, they look after each other. But now Talley’s are trying to shut all of those exchanges down in the name of ‘good faith’. Talley’s believe that the truth is best suppressed.

Too late, really. Everyone reading this already knows Talley’s record;  they’ve been found guilty of multiple breaches of workers rights over decades, and more recently have organised unlawful lockouts of workers and multiple breaches of good faith in their North Island AFFCO plants and denied workers public holidays.

Many AFFCO employees and other Talley’s workers have taken to Facebook with secret sites where they can express their opinion.   Why?  Because the digital world is the one place where Talley’s employees are safe. At least for now.

Talley’s has repeatedly banned union organiser access despite Employment Authority decisions, refuses union meetings in work-time, have closed union offices and won’t allow the delegates to meet.  Union newsletters are banned, with one worker being disciplined for even reading one.  According to their Human Resources manager “delegates don’t exist”. Talley’s want blind, mute and fearful obedience.

In August last year, the company filed claims of breaches of good faith in the Court alleging that because the Meat Workers Union is a “cornerstone supporter” of the Martyn Bradbury’s Daily Blog, posts from John Minto and Mike Treen there were evidence of the union’s  breach of good faith.

This was part of their claim to end collective bargaining with the MWU under the National Party’s new anti-union laws.

This case was adjourned sine die when a full bench of the Employment Court ruled on the company’s actual breaches of good faith last November and their unlawful lockouts of AFFCO workers when they attempted to implement company individual agreements last year.

All these cases are still before the court and due to be heard in July, along with the MWU’s application to ‘fix’ the terms of the collective agreement, under a never before used provision of the Employment Relations Act.

That provision has never been used before because no NZ company has ever previously been this obstinately opposed to collective bargaining.

Talley’s current attempt to stifle free speech is an application filed for an “interim compliance order” requiring the Meat Workers Union, its officials and agents to “comply with the duty of good faith by ceasing and desisting from publishing on any website, twitter account or other site viewable on the internet, items referring to the applicant or its parent company or officers that are unbalanced, misleading, untruthful, and/or derogatory until further order of the Authority.”

What’s more, they now seek to use the “good faith” claim to control who represents the workers with a specific claim to exclude Darien Fenton from meetings and mediations.

So who’s affected?  The “officials” of the union include every elected rank and file Shed President, Secretary and Vice President who work in meat works other than those owned or controlled by Talley’s.  It could also arguably include every member because the union is its members. They’re not only trying to gag their own workers, but every other worker in the industry.

Is anyone who publishes anything negative about Talley’s an agent?  Apparently so. Given that they disciplined a worker who merely read a union newsletter, you might find yourself on the receiving end of their legal bullying just for reading this post.

These sods want to shut all dissent down. They want to carry on their whippings in perfect silence. I say no fucken way, Talleys. As long as I have this platform, as long as I know that TS readers have a heart, I’m going to keep publicising their bastardry. It’s the least I can do.

The least you can do, dear reader, is check out the MWU’s excellent support page. You might like to help the union fund raise by buying a T Shirt while you’re there. Just don’t wear it anywhere near a Talley’s plant. They’re banned. It’s almost too pathetic for words, but words are just about all these workers have left to fight with.

 

 

https://tereoputake.wordpress.com/

twitter.com/tereoputake

[email protected]

 

 

68 comments on “Talleys Jump the Shark! ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Human rights violators, profiting from the proceeds of human rights abuses. The only way Tory trash ever take personal responsibility is by force. Confiscate their assets under the proceeds of crime act, or they’ll just keep on doing it: buying the National Party and attacking New Zealanders.

    Get tough on crime. Jailtime for Talley.

  2. McFlock 2

    Is it too soon to take Sir Peter Talley’s knighthood away from him?

    A thousand years ago knighthoods were bestowed by the powerful upon the privileged as a reward for preserving oppression.

    Nothing in that has changed.

    Fucking Talleys. They need different brands in supermarkets just to make it difficult to remember which ones to boycott.

  3. vto 3

    The union should get a court order banning talleyarseholes from the place of employment

  4. vto 4

    three strikes and you’re out

    isn’t it?

    • The problem is that this behaviour is unlawful, but not punished in a way that means anything to Talley’s. The fines are chickenfeed to them. And, of course, the generous donations to right wing politicians have their own reward.

      • vto 4.1.1

        Yep, well the problem is clearly the same as Rodney Hide highlighted with his three strikes law…

        Should apply to the likes of Talleys…. three strikes and you are permanently banned from being an employer..

        that’s get them some learnings …..

        .

  5. Macro 5

    It’s about time that Talley’s was closed down. Permanently.

    • Incognito 5.1

      Might you be overlooking something?

      • Macro 5.1.1

        No.
        I know what your saying – but it is about time employers were licensed to employ – if they persistently offended as employers they would have their license removed.
        In the case of Talleys they are such serial offenders they should never be allowed to be given the responsibility of employing workers ever again.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Who is going to pay for this licensing system and the training/audit/enforcement bureaucracy that it is going to require?

          Are small NZ employers with 10 or fewer employees going to have to be licensed as well?

          Won’t this further drive the increased use of “contractors” instead of “employees” throughout the entire economy?

          • You_Fool 5.1.1.1.1

            Sell the licenses; and take the capital and land of any employer who have their license stripped through unethical behavior. This can then be sold to a new “owner” with the acquisition of a new license.

          • TopHat 5.1.1.1.2

            It would be paid for by the employers themselves and would especially include small employers with fewer than 10 employees. They are the worse offenders.
            If you can’t afford employees you can’t have them!

            • Reddelusion 5.1.1.1.2.1

              View your so called brilliant idea not on intention but the result of such a reduculous proposition,

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.3

            I hope Labour or Greens run with your suggestions. They’ll have a huge impact. Of sorts. Ahem.

        • Incognito 5.1.1.2

          I suspected we were on the same page. I recently suggested an ethical licence but not limited to journalists http://thestandard.org.nz/guest-post-tick-tick-tick/#comment-1164539

          Ethics should be taught at schools IMO. You can now get NCEA credits for driver licences but in this day & age of Roast Busters driving a car is more important than ethics at NZ schools, it seems. I’m sure Key & Parata are comfortable with this.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.2.1

            Ethics taught in schools??? Kids have fine ethics from school. Dude the place where ethics needs to be taught is in work places and middle management!!!

            • Shifty 5.1.1.2.1.1

              Ooh +1

            • tinfoilhat 5.1.1.2.1.2

              Thank you CV – as a teacher around the secondary schools in Auckland i absolutely concur !

            • Sacha 5.1.1.2.1.3

              Their parents, on the other hand ..

            • Et Tu Brute 5.1.1.2.1.4

              Ha! For once I agree with Colonial Viper. If you want a different perspective on life and ethics go to a teenager. Depending on age gap and gender you might end up with a restraining order but you do learn a lot even if you have to filter it with an adult mind.

            • Incognito 5.1.1.2.1.5

              Your reply is lazy, incomplete, and inconsistent.

              Moral development starts at a very young age and should never stop; I agree with that much, although that’s not really what you said, is it?

              • Colonial Viper

                Only a Stalinist believes that moral indoctrination is the role of the state.

                • Incognito

                  Utterly disingenuous and absurd comment.

                  Are you testing out a new hypothesis that provocation is effective as constructive criticism? In other words, winding up somebody else furthers your case/cause whatever that might be? If not, why bother with these silly replies?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    You’re ignorant about what and how kids are taught at primary school today, plus make the statist mistake that schools and official school curriculum is where children should learn their ethics from.

                    Hence my previous comment stands.

                    • Incognito

                      You have no idea about my ignorance about what is or is not taught at primary or secondary schools, so please stick to the facts, check your assumptions, or simply stop spreading around your biased opinions.

                      I’d very interested to hear, in your view, where and from whom children and adults should learn ethics. I hope you agree that ethics are not inborn or innate and that moral development relies on transferable knowledge. If schools have no role in this – what is their function? – then it leaves few other places & opportunities and ways to assimilate the necessary knowledge and critical independent thinking.

                      Lastly, IMO a lack of ethics is one of the main reasons why we’re facing major issues right now (e.g. GFC, GCC, refugee problem, inequality, etc.) and nothing much will change for the ‘better’ if this is not addressed. Then again, I’m just an ignorant nameless nobody and Stalinist.

  6. The Fairy Godmother 6

    I used to buy their frozen peas until I realised what they were like. Now I always buy watties or mccains to make sure I am not giving talley’s a cent.

  7. John Shears 7

    Can anyone let us know the brands that Talleys sell in NZ Supermarkets so that we can make sure that we don’t buy them.
    Their behaviour is disgusting and their attitude to their workers
    is like something from the dark ages.
    Sir Peter , what a sick joke.

  8. mickysavage 8

    Well said TRP. I get the feeling this is a war of attrition where Talleys are hoping to drain the MWU through legal costs …

    • Te Reo Putake 8.1

      You’re not wrong, ms. Talley’s routinely lose the cases they are involved in, but that doesn’t seem to bother them. I’ve been told that the score is something like 25-5 against in recent years. Not all of these involve the union; there are plenty of successful personal grievance cases taken by individuals too.

      The severity of the $144k award against them is interesting. It might be a sign that the legal fraternity are tiring of their vexatious approach to litigation.

      • Sacha 8.1.1

        if only courts were allowed to take a pattern of conduct into account in each case.

        • te reo putake 8.1.1.1

          Actually, they are, Sacha. Hence the big fines in the access case. They’ve got progressively larger with each breach. In this current case I’m told they’re appealing on the grounds that a series of separate breaches should be really be seen as just one big breach. That would drop the total penalty down from $144k to $8k, as I understand it. The maximum is 20 grand a time, so they’re well on the way to setting some records whatever the outcome of the appeal. I imagine further breaches will be hit harder.

  9. Jenny 9

    History shows that there is only one way to effectively deal with powerful hard nosed anti-union employer like Talleys.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_sit-down_strike

    In my opinion Talleys are driving the union to this position.

    History shows that they will live to regret it.

    • vto 9.1

      Interesting.

      Make sure a friendly ‘governor’ like they had is around though … “Governor Murphy sent in the U.S. National Guard, not to evict the strikers, but rather to protect them from the police and corporate strike-breakers.”

      • Jenny 9.1.1

        “Governor Murphy sent in the U.S. National Guard, not to evict the strikers, but rather to protect them from the police and corporate strike-breakers.”

        This was after events had been shaped by the sit down strikers. And when their victory was inevitable, where further state violence would have served no useful purpose. It was done to ‘Keep The Peace’, and to protect the police and the plant, as much as it was to protect the workers.

        Under other circumstances, Governor Murphy would have just as readily deployed the National Guard to the picket line to ‘Keep The Peace’ by keeping the workers locked out, while their work was done by others.

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    great piece TRP–it is refreshing to read an unequivocal view amidst the digital soup that so often passes for political debate these days

    Talleyban now!! (if you are not already giving their brands the big swerve) an occasional “keying” in the chiller also does not go amiss

    if the unthinkable happened and the MWU were muzzled the rest of us (union supporters) will need to take to all media possible and assist, and hopefully the CTU will then call for a nationwide consumer boycott and put this ugly matter well and truly before the nation–it worked for the foodstuffs warehouse workers in 2005 when Laila Harre was fronting on John Campbell’s TV show nightly and it worked for Unite Union over zero hours in fast food

    corporates cannot be allowed to veto freedom of speech and association for citizens

  11. gsays 11

    I want to echo the well done trip.
    Succinctly put.

    From memory it was behaviour akin to talleys that the first unions sprung from. Essentially pushing and pushing the workforce till it had nothing to loose in striking back.

    I recall when talleys were misbehaving in the past, a standardista put up a list of names talleys products went by.
    Any chance of someone ressurecting the list?

    Again the power is in our hands.
    When we as a group act in unison we will be listened to.
    Eg only buy petrol from one company for 3 months.

  12. Hami Shearlie 12

    Maybe this link will help to identify which brands are Talley-owned!

    http://www.talleys.co.nz/about-us/our-company/

    • Chch_chiquita 12.1

      “Talley’s also processes and packs a range of private label products across the food range.” So, I could be buying their products without knowing!

      • Te Reo Putake 12.1.1

        That’s true. There may be clues in the small print (ie, if a product is packed in Motueka or Nelson, dollars to donuts it’s Talley’s). But the safer bet is to go for brands that are worker friendly like Watties or Alliance Meats. It might cost a few pennies more, but your heart will thank you for it.

        • Chch_chiquita 12.1.1.1

          Thanks. I’ll make sure I search for the clues as I do my best to buy ethically (stopped buying seafood for that reason) and locally produced.

    • gsays 12.2

      thank-you hs

  13. Rodel 13

    In supermarkets when I reach for meat or frozen products my hand recoils when I see the word Talleys- It’s almost a conditioned response. Must donate again to the MWU.

  14. Thank you so much to the Standard for posting this. I can’t tell you how much everything you say and do matters for the workers who are so up against it. Here’s another stoopid thing today from Talley owned Land Meats and their lawyer Graeme Malone. “I refer to the Mediation that is set for tomorrow (today) which the company had the hope and intent of attending for the purpose of concluding a bargaining process agreement. To conclude an agreement it follows that the Company needs an undertaking that in doing so at mediation the Union, including Darien Fenton who is the Union’s director of organising, will thereafter abide by the terms as per the agreed wording of the bargaining agreement relating to Land Meats and associated companies in accordance with the good faith provisions of the Act. As you will be aware proceedings are before the Authority right now arising from repeated breaches by Darien Fenton of the bargaining agreement between the union and Affco and the company sees that on-going behaviour as little different from that complained about in the writer’s letter of October last year.
    Accordingly the Company asks that the union does provide that undertaking and I would therefore be grateful if you could take urgent advise and confirm the union’s position.
    That came late last night. Dunno if mediation is proceeding, but I suspect it wont.

    • Te Reo Putake 14.1

      No worries, Darien, happy to be able to keep the heat on these guys. All the best to you and the union members. And fingers crossed the Employment Authority sees their claims against you personally for the bullying it is.

  15. Awww C-mon 15

    Talleys, some of the best employers I’ve had.

    Work hard, handle your shit, get rewarded.

    • Paul 15.1

      I’m alright Jack. Who cares about others?
      Does that sum up your world view?

      • Awww C-mon 15.1.1

        No Paul, But if you cared about the others around you would work hard too so the company you worked for was successful, not fuck around and work as slow as possible so the boys get another shift…

        Not that the MWU would suggest such things.

        • Paul 15.1.1.1

          What is your view on how Talleys have acted regarding free speech.
          I’m assuming you’re a libertarian/ACT aficionado so I’d imagine you’re all for free speech. Or are you only for speech you approve of?
          You’d share the same views of fre speech as Stalinist Russia or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.
          Blinded by hatred it would appear.

          • Awww C-mon 15.1.1.1.1

            You shouldn’t assume anything Paul. Have you never learnt that lesson?

          • Sacha 15.1.1.1.2

            No point in engaging with a plant.

            • Awww C-mon 15.1.1.1.2.1

              Get a grip, an opposing opinion doesn’t have to be part of conspiracy. you think too much of yourself

              • McFlock

                While it wouldn’t be the first time that an employer being kicked by the courts has told a spokesperson to comment here and minimise their oppression of workers, you are completely correct.

                You might just be an idiot rather than a shill.

                • Awww C-mon

                  Proof McFlock,

                  I may just be an idiot, wasting my time on this echo chamber

                  • McFlock

                    Indeed.
                    Additionally, with the likes of you turning up alongside various tory trools, this is hardly an echo chamber.

                    So we seem to be in agreement – you’re an idiot.

                    But in the meantime, my decision against purchasing the talleys mussels that were on special yesterday was not determined by pseudonymous claims that they “extract their pound of flesh” but pay well for it. Their employment court track record,as reported in the post is what nailed it.

                    • Awww C-mon

                      Good on McFlock, you leave the Talley products on the shelf.

                      I will by preference look to purchase Talley products because I know the profits stay in NZ, the staff are mostly Kiwi’s and their products are all NZ made/grown.

                    • McFlock

                      I’d rather they go under and make way for a company that treats its workers well, according to the employment court.

                      It’s not like the fields will turn to tumbleweed if Talleys are run out of town.

    • lprent 15.2

      I guess you have very low expectations of employers. Must come from your previous history as an employee.

      Th ave all the hallmarks of being complete arseholes as employers. I wouldn’t rich anyone who have acted as they have over the last decade.

      And no, I have never been in a union.

      • Awww C-mon 15.2.1

        Screw you Lprent. Thats a shitty comment about my history which you know nothing about.

        It deserves a response like ” you have the hallmarks of an arsehole too, I doubt you could ‘rich’ anyone. You’d struggle to run a bath, much less a company”

    • te reo putake 15.3

      As you know, Talleys pay below industry rates. Skilled meat workers can do better, if they’re lucky enough to live in areas with alternatives. No point slagging the MWU, they’ve done a great job for industry workers for a long, long time. The issue isn’t the workers, anyway. It’s an anti democratic, bullying owner.

      Still, here’s a genuine offer. Prove me wrong. Organise a site visit for me. Let me talk to however I want, unimpeded. I’ll write it up honestly. Any plant, any time.

      • Awww C-mon 15.3.1

        TRP, From what I have read I dont doubt you or your offer to be genuine. It is several years since I was there and I would not have the contacts to organise it anymore, sorry.

        I was started at normal industry rates for my role.
        Was able to progress in both wages and conditions, on the back of hard work.
        I was never bullied, in fact the opposite. The Talleys and their management were both caring and supportive to me.
        Yes, they expected hard work, the got their pound of flesh. But they also offered reward. That seems fair to me!

  16. Paul 16

    I see you’ve clocked on, busily filling each thread with your diversionary nonsense.
    When do you clock off?
    What does it feel like, spinning the lines for the uber rich?

  17. NZJester 17

    I think they actually Jumped the shark long ago. Now they are just in the water with it beating it with a stick

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