10 Apr 2012

Union heading to court to challenge AFFCO lockout

6:32 am on 10 April 2012

The Meat Workers Union is to contest in the Employment Court the lockout of 1000 of its members from several AFFCO meat processing plants.

AFFCO locked out the workers about five weeks ago, following a breakdown in negotiations over a new collective employment contract.

The union says the lockout is unlawful because it is not directly related to the bargaining of the new agreement, but is to encourage the union to drop current court action over aspects of the contract, and to pressure union members to sign individual agreements.

The union will seek a permanent injuction against the lockout, five weeks of lost wages for each worker and court costs.

The hearing is set for 23 April, but mediation will take place earlier, on 12 April.

AFFCO extended the lockout to a further 500 meat workers over Easter, depriving them of statutory holiday pay, in reaction to their ongoing strike action.