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Lockout Ends at Meat Plant

23 December 2011

NEW ZEALAND - The lamb processing plant of Canterbury Meat Packers at Rangitikei has withdrawn its lockout of members of the New Zealand Meat Workers Union after settling a new collective employment agreement.

A total of 111 workers were locked out of Canterbury Meat Packers' Rangitikei lamb processing plant on 19 October after refusing to take a 20 per cent pay cut and other changes to their working conditions.

The workers will be abck at work in the New Year.

The end to the lockout of about 60 union members at CMP Rangitikei came after further negotiations this week with the New Zealand Meat Workers Union.

The Union has lost almost 80 per cent of its CMP Rangitikei membership throughout the dispute as more employees chose to carry on working and sign individualagreements with the company.

At the meeting of Senior Managers of CMP Rangitikei and Senior Union Officials, facilitated by a member of the Employment Relations Authority, it was agreed the union would recommend a deal to members that would enable a return to work.

“We are pleased that we have finally been able to come to an agreement with the meat workers’ union. It has taken them almost 8 months to appreciate our position and be realistic in their expectations to get a deal.” said CMP Rangitikei General Manager Mr Darryl Mackenzie.

“We are extremely grateful for the NZMWU’s National President and Secretary for getting involved to get it sorted. It just wasn’t going to happen otherwise” said Mr Mackenzie.

The union members voted by a large majority to accept a new collective agreement.

“We are aware that many of the union members have been working elsewhere during the lockout, so we will wait and see how many actually return to work next week,” said Mr Mackenzie.

“A meeting will be held by the company for all union members tomorrow to begin the process of getting them started back at the plant. Being able to get this deal through now bodes well for the future for the plant.

“This is a challenging industry so securing these changes now means we have a much stronger future ahead of us,” said Mr Mackenzie.

During the lockout about 240 production staff on individual employment agreements kept the plant operating.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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