7 May 2012

AFFCO, union complete first day of facilitation

9:34 pm on 7 May 2012

AFFCO and the Meat Workers Union have wrapped up the first of three days set down for high-level talks aimed at resolving an industrial dispute affecting eight processing plants in the North Island.

The Employment Relations Authority last week granted the union's request for facilitation - the highest form of government-assisted mediation.

The union and meat processing company have been unable to negotiate a new collective employment agreement for the past 10 weeks and some workers have been locked out since February.

About 500 workers are currently locked out, while a further 800 are on strike.

The union says details of the negotiations held in Auckland on Monday are confidential.

Two further dates for facilitation have been set down for Friday and Monday, 14 May.

Protests held outside Talley homes

About 40 members of the Meat Workers Union demonstrated outside the houses of AFFCO owners Peter and Andrew Talley in Motueka on Monday.

A bundle of letters expressing how the lockout had affected their families was left at one house.

Police say the protesters were polite and cooperative.

Another demonstration was later held in Nelson with employees from another fishing company, a competitor of Talley's.

Radio New Zealand rang the home of Peter Talley for comment, but was hung up on. AFFCO did not return calls.