11 Jun 2015

Meatworkers punished over union material

2:15 pm on 11 June 2015

The Meatworkers' Union is going into battle for two southern meatworkers punished for distributing union material at work.

Union organiser Daryl Caren said two workers were suspended without pay from South Pacific Meats' Awarua plant near Invercargill for alleged "serious misconduct".

They were stood down earlier this month after they were spotted on company security cameras distributing union material.

One of the workers was seen handing out a nationwide union newsletter, while the other was seen picking up the material off the table, reading it, then placing it on a staff noticeboard.

The company said the actions constituted "serious misconduct" and South Pacific Meats, a subsidiary of the Talley's-owned AFFCO, suspended the pair. They had since been re-instated with a warning.

Mr Caren said the union is taking their case to the Employment Relations Authority.

"We're raised a grievance for alleged serious misconduct after those workers were re-instated, by using top legal representation. We're now seeking remedies for unjust and unfair action - and for those workers not being paid during the suspension period," he said.

Meanwhile, the union said it was taking court action to prevent a lock-out of workers at the AFFCO meatworks in Rangiuru, in the Bay of Plenty.

Company director Andrew Talley said he would not comment on anything to do with the union.

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