10 Dec 2015

Meatworkers accuse AFFCO of ignoring court ruling

6:37 pm on 10 December 2015

Workers at Talley's AFFCO plants are furious at what they say are mistakes, pay cuts and omissions on the first payday after a court-ordered return to work, the Meat Workers Union says.

Affco workers made the journey from Wairoa to Auckland for the hearing.

Workers remain unhappy with their treatment by AFFCO, especially at Wairoa. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Last month, a report from the Employment Court on a breakdown in talks between AFFCO and its workers throughout the country found the meat company acted in bad faith and undermined the union.

Meat Workers Union secretary Graham Cooke said the court indicated workers should be reinstated on previous union terms and conditions.

But AFFCO was ignoring the court ruling and workers were being paid according to the contracts AFFCO wanted to implement, Mr Cooke said.

"It's been a hard road for our members in the last two weeks. Our members have deliberately been discriminated against in work allocations, there's been muck-ups with start and finish times and overtime preferences dished out to those not on the union agreement.

"Some workers, like those at Wairoa, are yet to return to work at all, as the company insists they return on nightshift, regardless of previous shift arrangements before the lockout.

"It feels to our members like the company is deliberately flouting the judge's ruling and is determined to make life difficult."

AFFCO general manager Rowan Ogg said it was difficult to comment because the issue was before the courts.

But he said the dayshifts at Wairoa were fully staffed and returning workers had been offered night work as an interim measure to transition them back to work.

Last month, AFFCO chief financial officer Nigel Stevens noted the court judgment made no specific directions other than directing the parties to further mediation.

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