Mediation continues in South Auckland as Talleys lockout enters third month

Press Release – Meat Workers Union
The Meat Workers’ Union and Talley’s Affco will return to mediation in South Auckland today as the lockout enters its third month.

Two days of mediated bargaining will start at 9am this morning, Telstra Clear Center at 770 Great South Road, Manukau, and will finish tomorrow on May Day, international worker’s day.

Meat Workers’ Union general secretary Dave Eastlake says the lockout is hurting families and it is time Talley’s dropped the lockout and resolved the dispute.

“900 Talley’s Affco workers and their families are struggling into the third month of the Talley’s lockout,” he says. “The lockout is as senseless now as it was when it first started and it is time it ended.”

Mr Eastlake says the union’s negotiation team, which includes work site representatives, is going into mediation with an open mind today and won’t be forgetting the significance of tomorrow, International Worker’s Day.

“May Day is a time to remember the sacrifice workers and their unions made when they fought and won the basic work conditions we all take for granted today. While we will be flexible in negotiations, we’ won’t simply throw away basic protections like job security which is essential for workers families in the highly seasonal and precarious meat industry.”

Last Friday 500 Talley’s Affco workers started their third week of continuous solidarity strike action in support of locked out family members and co-workers.

The union is waiting for a decision from the Employment Relations Aurthority on an application for facilitated bargaining and a date from the Employment Court for a full hearing on the union’s challenge to legality of the lockout.

Freezing workers were first locked out on February 29 and entered their third month yesterday.

Press release from Affco
The Meat Workers Union has refused an offer that would have seen all its members back to work at Affco plants. Over the weekend, the company offered to restart all striking workers if the Union ended its strike action and engaged in meaningful mediation during the return to work.

Affco Director of Operations, Rowan Ogg said the company proposed that should the Union end its strike action Affco would restart striking workers at 300 workers per week provided only that meaningful mediation occurs during the period it takes to re-employ all 1100 Union members.

Affco’s back to work offer comes after 8 weeks of strike action by the Union. The Union has rejected the offer to get its members back to work.

The majority of Affco’s workers are not Union members and are working as normal with all plants operational.

Mr Ogg said the company has been frustrated at the Union’s failure to put any alternative options to the company’s new Collective terms during past mediation attempts.

Affco has also guaranteed that workers’ daily pay would not be affected by the operational Collective changes.

The Union rejected Affco’s latest offer by demanding a shorter restart and that striking workers come back according to seniority. The Union also claimed that processing lines the Union members work on be subject to the Union’s agreement on operational matters.

Mediation between Affco and the Meat Workers Union is set down for today and tomorrow.