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AFFCO to Extend Lockout at Meat Plants

05 March 2012

NEW ZEALAND - Talley's AFFCO will lockout a further 250 meat workers indefinetly from tomorrow, Tuesday 6 March.

Unaffected New Zealand Meat Workers Union (MWU) will strike in solidarity with the workers on Tuesday similar to Friday's protests which saw over 1,000 workers striking.

Workers at the meat processing plant in Rangiuru, near Te Kuiti, will join 750 workers locked out last Wednesday at Moerewa, Horotiu, Rangiuru, Feilding, Whanganui and Wairoa. No workers have been locked out at Wiri and Napier which are both fully unionised.

Meat Workers Union AFFCO Rangiuru site president, Kaipara McGarvey, says the lock out at his site doesn't apply to 170 union members and 130 non-union members, most of whom were recently employed.

"The company is trying to split families as well as coworkers and now they want to create division at Rangiuru too," he said at the weekend.

"Yesterday we saw parents striking in solidarity with their locked out kids and coworkers standing up for their mates and we'll do it again next Tuesday."

Meat Worker's Union General Secretary, Dave Eastlake, says union members started a work ban on training replacement labour for locked out workers this morning.

"It only took Tally's AFFCO 10 hours of face-to-face negotiations before they locked out workers without thought for our families, the local buisinesses which rely on our incomes and the farmers who supply the stock," he said.

"We want the locked lifted immediately and for negotiations to continue."

Mr Eastlake says non-union members, most of whom were employed in the few weeks, have been supportive with a number joining the union. However, according to a report on TVNA, the AFFCO management believe that the Meat Workers Union is not taking the stand-off over a contract dispute seriously enough.

Operations manager Rowan Ogg told TVNA that the company will lock out another 250 workers tomorrow and the lockout would be extended to the Rangiuru processing plant, where unionised staff last Friday joined a "solidarity" strike with 776 workers locked out last week at Affco's plants at Moerewa, Horotiu, Feilding, Whanganui and Wairoa.

He said that said the company extended the lock out to Rangiuru because the union had "sought to escalate" the dispute into that plant.

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