22 Nov 2011

Union and meat company going back to negotiations

6:09 am on 22 November 2011

Union members and the meat company embroiled in a dispute at Marton, are going back into mediation this week, five weeks after discussions for a new collective contract broke down.

ANZCO Foods, which owns the Canterbury Meat Packers lamb processing plant in Marton, locked out 100 union members on 19 October.

The company wants them to take a pay cut and work longer hours during the peak season.

It says 200 employees have signed individual contracts accepting the new conditions and are working at the plant.

Earlier this month, the company offered a $500 one-off payment to the locked-out employees who rejected the offer.

The Meat Workers' Union says an updated proposal was sent to the company last week and the company came back late on Friday to request a return to the negotiations.

General secretary Dave Eastlake hopes the talks will be able to make some progress.

"We had a mediation hearing last week which the company said they would get back to us on and failed to do so, but given that they've requested a return to the table we'll keep our fingers cross and be hopeful," he said.

Mr Eastlake said the picket at the plant had been gaining international support over the past few weeks.