9 Dec 2011

Union hopes workers can be back by Christmas

7:29 pm on 9 December 2011

The Meatworkers' Union hopes new talks will mean staff from a central North Island lamb processing plant can get back to work by Christmas.

About 100 workers, many of them Maori, have been picketing outside the Marton CMP Rangitikei plant since 19 October when negotiations broke down over proposed pay cuts.

The company served a lockout notice on workers who refused to sign individual contracts.

The workers say they won't budge and are preparing to have a basic Christmas - with some willing to go without presents or forego travelling to see whanau.

Union spokesperson Robbie McGee hopes they can use the services of the Employment Relations Authority on 21 and 22 December to break the deadlock.

CMP Rangitikei says it has started the annual process of employing new staff but it says the roles of those currently locked out will not be filled.