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Workers locked out because won’t take 25% pay cut

Written By: - Date published: 3:46 pm, November 2nd, 2011 - 45 comments
Categories: greens, labour, workers' rights - Tags:

Over 100 meat workers have now been locked out for 10 days at the Canterbury Meat Packers works in Rangitikei. These workers are being told to sign an agreement that cuts their pay by 20-30% and loses important conditions in order to return to work. Some migrant workers face deportation if they lose their jobs. It’s a disgrace; they need support.

Workers have set up a picket on State Highway One, are leafleting local communities CMP Flyer for worksites, and the union is organising financial support like grocery vouchers and other essentials.

They are not highly paid and need financial support- you can donate via the KiwiBank lockout fund. Name is Disputes Fund. Account number is 38-9007-0894028-08.

There were lots of people at the picket today including the locked out workers, officials from other unions and CTU, and also Labour and Green politicians. The link to their facebook site is here.

45 comments on “Workers locked out because won’t take 25% pay cut ”

  1. Mac1 1

    Same sort of deal in Havelock, Marlborough with the local fisheries attempting to drive very hard bargains. Expect a lot more of this if our dinnamic PM doesn’t gets some enforced holiday time in Hawaii.

    Bastards in Rangitikei don’t deserve to use the name Canterbury.

    • marsman 1.1

      And of course the CEO and Directors have already given themselves a pay cut, or is that a pay increase?

      • dad4justice 1.1.1

        Pay increase matey, eh Mr Former Union Delegate Dumbo McKenzie!

        CMP is a rort from day one! They import slave labour just ask anybody in Ashburton!!

        • The Voice of Reason 1.1.1.1

          Good on ya, Dad. McKenzie is regarded by the picketers as just a tool of the owners and while he has been getting stick as he goes through the picket line with his taxpayer funded police escort, the real enemy are the owners and that’s where the anger is directed.

          • dad4justice 1.1.1.1.1

            I was a union buddy with fuckwit McKenzie before he jumped the fence and become a company cock sucker.Remember Sue Darryl? Remember deb fats?

            Checkmate loser! ( I know he reads this blog = he told Hiny just last week)

            Payback is sweet and easy. Haha! 

  2. Tigger 2

    Dynamic times indeed.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    They must be experiencing a squeeze on profits – CMP => ANZCO Foods => Waitrose & McDonalds.
    The end-users are screaming at the higher dollar, so instead of charging their customers more (or posting a reduced dividend) they’re attacking NZ workers’ pay-packets, with the slavering complicity of Brand Key.

  4. fender 4

    What a disgrace. You are right there Tigger very “dinimic” times. If that turkey Key should somehow win on the 26th despite the groundswell against him at the moment, huge numbers of kiwis will be booking their 1 way flights out of here.

    • Akldnut 4.1

      Fucking Greedy Barstards – We can look forward to more workers being hammered if these pricks get back in and a lot more industrial action.

    • queenstfarmer 4.2

      I am curious what you think has this got to do with John Key? The majority of the staff have already signed new agreements and are back at work.It sounds like only a militant minority who are refusing to negotiate.

      • mik e 4.2.1

        Jinxed Key
        Mumbling muddling liar

      • The Voice of Reason 4.2.2

        You’re dead right, queenie, it is a militant minority refusing to negotiate. The owners, as it happens. This is one of the most blatant attempts to pass on the cost of management failures to a workforce ever seen in NZ. The union has rather reasonably offered to match the cuts the management take in their own bloated salaries, but, guess what, there aren’t going to be any pay cuts in the office. It’s only the poor buggers that do the work that are being made to suffer.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.3

        Successfully starved some workers back at a 30% discount? You must be proud mate.

        Evil fucker.

      • fender 4.2.4

        Perhaps if Key had implimented some changes to labor market like the ones Labour have announced we would have a more harmonious working environment, where all workers feel valued and share in any gains, not just management and shareholders. But nah stuff that lets just further the cause of a select few, thats fairer.

    • Rodel 4.3

      TURKEY ! yes ! That’s it!

  5. Richard Down South 5

    They should have to pay workers their normal wages imo, if the company prevents them from working… surely that’s in breach of the ‘spirit’ of the current contract and also the negotiation process

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    As per usual the high unemployment environment is the backdrop for downward pressure on wages and this style of ‘take it or leave it’, ‘starve ’em out’ bad faith bargaining (employer attack).

    This is happening the world over in the food and service sector with the leveraged buyout and labour hire worker models. Corporates like Nestle and Unilever are donkey deep in this carry on where the employment relationship is triangulated and obvious employees designated as contractors or the responsibility of a third party company-(e.g. Hobbit Enabling Act). Major National party donors Talley’s and National party figures such as Wyatt Creech at OCC are some local proponents of this dirty filthy anti unionism.

    The scabs from what I know are younger labour hire company workers on near minimum wage. They should know bloody better but a generation of anti unionism and cowboy companies has created a gap in meatworks solidarity. Finally in the Open Country Cheese lockout case the various courts upheld the law and the Dairy Workers Union case, that replacement workers cannot be used to break a lawful strike.

    There is a bank account number and practical solidarity steps to take.
    Name is Disputes Fund. Account number is 38-9007-0894028-08.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      The scabs from what I know are younger labour hire company workers on near minimum wage.

      It’ll be contract and they’ll be losing money going to work. They just haven’t realised that yet.

      • The Voice of Reason 6.1.1

        Some of those that folded and went back in the first few days were made to sign the IEA, then stood down for a few more days for having stuck with the union at all. This isn’t just about money, its about power and control as well.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    Actually things are very tight in the meat industry. There is a lot of over capacity and a number of works are closing down. The latest was the Alliance works in Christchurch.

    So, the option might be a job with less money, or none at all if the works aren’t viable.

    IrishBill: Times are tight here too, tsmithfield. That’s why I’ve decided to delete 25% of your comments for the next four weeks. It’s either that or no standard at all. I’m glad you understand.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      Things are very tight pretty much everywhere smitty.

      How about you go to your employer and suggest he gives you a 25% pay cut?

    • infused 7.2

      I guess you guys know how bad it is out there right? I guess a job is better than no job yeah?

      IrishBill: That line takes me back. But you’re probably too young to realise just how worn out it is.

      • RedLogix 7.2.1

        Any job at any pay?

        I mean if cutting pay by 25% is good, how far do you want to go? Because there is always someone, somewhere in the world who will be desperate enough to do it cheaper.

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1

          If cutting pay is such a good thing for the company, how much pay are the senior managers and directors giving up?

    • Descendant Of Smith 7.3

      CMP announced record profits last year and on their own website they proclaim:

      CMP is 100% owned by the ANZCO Foods Limited. ANZCO Foods is a dynamic, young multi-national group of companies whose core purpose is to procure, process and market beef and sheepmeat products from New Zealand to the world. ANZCO Foods operates a cattle feedlot, lamb and beef processing and manufactured food operations, together with market representation in New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, North America, United Kingdom and Belgium.

      ANZCO Foods is jointly owned by Itoham Foods Inc, Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd and directors and management. Each group owns more than 25 percent of the company.

      Itoham Foods is Japan’s second largest ham and sausage company with an annual sales revenue in excess of $US 10 billion. Founded in 1928, Itoham Foods has been listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange since 1961.

      Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd is Japan’s largest seafood company also with annual sales revenue in excess of $US 10 billion. Founded in 1943, Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd has been listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange since 1949.

      Yep sounds like they are struggling.

      • vto 7.3.1

        Chairman and major owner Graeme Harrison was made a knight in the recent honours.

        For services to meat.

        What a total asshole. For services to his fellow manwoman he should be put in the stocks.

        Here is his write up direct from the anzco website. These sorts of pricks should have the distress they cause to these people sheeted directly home to them in a very personal manner, just as they do to their workers…

        “Graeme Harrison, KNZM
        Chairman

        In June 2011, Chairman of ANZCO Foods, Graeme Harrison, was awarded a knighthood for his services to, and achievements within, the agribusiness sector.

        Sir Graeme has worked in various roles associated with the New Zealand meat industry since 1973, spending more than one third of his time resident overseas. From a Mid Canterbury farming family and as an MA (Hons) graduate, he was briefly with the Department of Trade and Industry before joining the New Zealand Meat Producers Board. There he became a Deputy Chief Executive, before founding what is now ANZCO Foods, in 1984.
        After 20 years as Managing Director, he became ANZCO’s Chairman in 2004.

        In 1995 ANZCO relinquished any remaining association with the New Zealand Meat Producers Board, when Sir Graeme led a management buyout of shares held by the Board and Huttons Kiwi. In 2001, ANZCO settled on
        its current shareholding groups of Itoham Foods (48.3%), Nippon Suisan (25.2%) and Directors and Management (26.5%).

        Outside the ANZCO Group, Sir Graeme, in his early career, was a member of joint industry missions to the Middle East and North Africa. He served on leading industry organisations, including the Council of the Meat
        Industry Association, and as a director of Meat & Wool New Zealand, the New Zealand Meat Board and the consortium New Zealand Lamb Company in North America.

        He has also, since their establishment, been Managing Director of ANZCO’s two joint ventures with Itoham Foods, Five Star Beef and Itoham New Zealand. A natural entrepreneur, Sir Graeme actively champions New Zealand agribusiness, and sees a
        huge potential for the agricultural, forestry, seafood and mineral sectors. In addition, Sir Graeme’s commitment to developing export opportunities involves being an independent director of Westland Milk Products, a board member of Sealord, and chairman of the New Zealand International Business Forum. In 2010, Sir Graeme was named Federated Farmers’ Agribusiness person of the year.

        Sir Graeme is a passionate promoter of a positive future for New Zealand agribusiness and his knighthood recognises his personal contribution, as well as the importance of a sector that comprises the largest part of the New Zealand economy, in
        terms of exports. While his down-to-earth approach means he just wants to be called ‘Graeme’ around the office, Sir Graeme is humbled by the honour.

        When not involved in business, Sir Graeme keeps fit running half and full marathons, as well as gardening. He has a keen interest in current affairs, history and travel, along with books, movies and music. He is also an avid rugby follower.”

        • Colonial Viper 7.3.1.1

          Next time someone runs a marathon with him, follow the bugger and tell him what a greedy shit head he is for a couple of miles.

  8. RedLogix 8

    There’s a lot riding on Labour producing some costings …

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Nope fuck that.

      Just say that John Key makes up numbers, everyone knows it, he did it in Christchurch around how many houses would be demolished, he’s done it with the Rena about how much a clean up might cost ($100M he said, bullshit what a nice round number), and he’s done it with the number of jobs National was going to create with the cycle way.

      Don’t fall for Keys bloody strategy, GOFF SET THE AGENDA, and MAXIMISE THE MEME, that is, KEY TELLS CONVENIENT LIES.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        170,000 new jobs over 4 years. Starting last year. Yeah right – another example of Key making up numbers as convenient lies.

        Goff must appeal to the heart 80% to the head 20%. Trying to justify this number and explaining that number – that’s just losing.

  9. Helen Kelly 9

    Really glad to see the Standard pick this up. The workers that are locked out are prepared to discuss pay and have already agreed to a significant change in their rostering arrangements which will save the company lots of money. They have also written to the company saying they would take a 10% cut which will be a significant loss for them on wages that are in the second to bottom quartile for the industry. They have also offered to work with the company to understand its strategies better and contribute to its development but they have been met with a big fat no. For some the cuts will be as much as 30%. and the company wants it all. Many of them are shocked and upset that a company they like working for has treated them like this. They cant understand how the company could expect them to take such a huge reduction in one hit. It is a group that is supplying some huge multinationals and has billions in assets. The CTU is trying to get the parties back to the table to negotiate. We are also campaigning to provide financial support – over 100 workers – its a lot of money needed to preserve for them the genuine option to keep fighting for a good deal. We will not let these workers be starved back to work – it would be great if readers at the Standard offer their support in anyway you can and join our facebook page to keep up with what could be a long hard few months ahead of us!

    • lprent 9.1

      Hey, we’ll take guest posts from you. Doesn’t violate any of our guidelines

    • queenstfarmer 9.2

      Helen if this is the case, is not a clear-cut breach of good faith? And if so, why doesn’t the union go straight to court?

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        Hey qstf doesn’t “going straight to court” mean a month or more waiting for the case to be heard?

        So what are the workers going to live on in the mean time mate? You must be so proud of yourself you little capitalist scab.

        • queenstfarmer 9.2.1.1

          Calm down. It’s a straight question that might shed more light on what is clearly a serious issue. You just seem to want to name-call (and calling me a “scab” actually makes no sense).

          From what I have read on this (which was nothing until I saw this article), the dispute has already been going on for over a month. You can get an urgent court hearing I’m quite sure – look at the Qantas thing.

          • Colonial Viper 9.2.1.1.1

            “The Qantas thing” was costing Qantas and the Australian tourism industry and related businesses hundreds of millions of dollars a day. Not the same league.

            And, ummmm, its in Australia.

            What kind of major shareholder apologist are you anyways.

      • The Voice of Reason 9.2.2

        I’m not sure that it is a breach of good faith, qsf. The lockout is legal, as far as I can tell and it has been tested in court Perhaps if you could explain what you think ‘good faith’ means, I could answer your question a bit better. However, I think a) you are attacking the union and b) you are doing doing it from a position of ignorance.

        • queenstfarmer 9.2.2.1

          If the lockout has been tested in court, and has been found to be legal, and which presumably means there is no breach of good faith (or it would have been illegal), then those are relevant facts to this issue.

          And I don’t know how what I (or anyone else) thinks “good faith” might be would add anything, because it is what the law thinks “good faith” means – the law requires “good faith” in employment dealings.

          • The Voice of Reason 9.2.2.1.1

            I was asking you to define good faith because I don’t think you know what it means. And while I still don’t think you know what it means in an employment relations context, I am pleased you think CMP are not acting in good faith in the wider sense of the phrase. There may be hope for you yet!

  10. Richard Down South 10

    If you have a contract, that contract as I understand it, stands until a new one is agreed upon?

    • fender 10.1

      Yes R D S that would be what any fair and reasonable person would think. But unfortunatly we now live in a world where corporates have all the power stacked in their favour and can get away with big stick slave bashing. I’m in the mood for a revolution .

    • The Voice of Reason 10.2

      It depends on whether it is an individual agreement (IEA) or a collective (CEA). CEA’s are time bound and if not renegotiated, default back to IEA’s based on the defunct CEA. IEA’s require the agreement of both parties to be updated. Usually, this takes the form of the boss saying what the changes will be and the lackey copping it.

  11. Watching with interest 11

    QTS, I believe it has been in court already, and from what was in the paper it was rushed through in urgency as the people locked out are not being paid.
    The Judge has ruled in favour of the company.

    TVR, I may be a little naive, but if the company has followed the lockout legally, how are they not being in good faith?

  12. Helen Kelly 12

    Sorry for not answering these comments earlier! We have filed a good faith case with the Employment Court in relation to the company contacting union members individually offering a return to work if they sign the new agreement. The dates has been set down but it takes time. The lock out is illegal in our view as the lock out notice was wrong. We applied for an urgent injunction and lost. The reason was a surprise to both us and the employer. It has been accepted that Meat workers and employers must give three days notice of action under the ERA but the court found that is only necessary where there is a public interest in doing so – and the judge found that there was no public interest in this lock out. I am sure employers in the industry will not appreciate the idea that workers don’t always need to give notice – but there you go – we are seeking a permanaent injunction and will re-argue this point. Regardless this lock out is outrageous and designed to force these workers into accepting unfair terms. These workers are earning mid $40,000’s to high $40’000s in wages and a 20% -30% cut will impoverish them. THis is the productive sector – if it is not going to pay reasonable wages – no one is!

    Thanks for the offer of guest posting – would be good to talk to someone about this!

  13. Watching with interest 13

    Good luck with the next injunction.

    I live in a neighbouring community to the CMP plant and have heard and read a lot of what is going on over the past few weeks.
    I hope everyone can get back to work soon, this can not be a benefit to either party having these guys not working.
    30% pay cut seems like a very big number. Do you know what rate the company is offering these guys? I’m guessing some of them will be leaving to go to other meat works in the area (if the pay is better)

    Hoping for a resolution soon.

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