19 Mar 2012

Iwi to open resource centre for AFFCO workers

7:57 am on 19 March 2012

Ngati Kahungunu iwi in Hawke's Bay is launching a resource centre in Wairoa on Monday to help more than 100 meat workers who have been locked out of the local AFFCO sheep and beef processing plant.

Chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana says his first experience in helping set up a centre was in October 1986 after the Hawke's Bay Farmer Meat Company plant at Whakatu, south of Napier, closed down.

He says almost 2000 workers suddenly found themselves out of a job.

Mr Tomoana says a report at the time indicated that the suicide and self-harm rate of those made redundant was twice that of the national average.

He says redundancies break down the whanau structures and leave people with no where to go.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples will open the resource centre at 11am.

AFFCO locked out 1000 meat workers at six of its sites nearly three weeks ago following an employment dispute.