7 Dec 2011

Locked out union members turn to facilitation service

6:14 am on 7 December 2011

Union members embroiled in a dispute at a Manawatu meat plant, are seeking the help of the Employment Relations Authority and its facilitation service, to obtain a new collective contract.

ANZCO Foods, which owns the Canterbury Meat Packers lamb-processing plant at Marton, locked out 100 union members six weeks ago.

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.

The Meatworkers Union says the dispute is becoming increasingly bitter and he hopes the company will agree to work with Employment Relations Authority facilitators to resolve it.

National secretary Dave Eastlake says Waitrose, a British supermarket chain and one of ANZCO's major customers, has also urged the company to return to negotiations.