100 members of the Meat Workers Union are facing the Christmas holiday on the picket lines after being locked out at the Marton ANZCO Canterbury Meat Processors (CMP meatworks).

The lockout is because the Meat Workers Union refuse to accept a 20% pay cut, and the removal of other conditions from their collective agreement.

CMP management approach to this dispute has been described has brutal . Prior to the lock out workers were put on a weeks leave. During this week's leave management arranged community meetings for workers at the plant to sign individual employment agreements. This was a blatant attempt at union busting and a attempt at sledge-hammering the proposed cuts through - as workers have little or no protection as such contracts are worthless bits of paper as far as bargaining is concerned.

The management proposed cuts include reducing redundancy payments from 15 weeks to 10 weeks., reducing pay rates from $31.10 to $25.00 for A grade positions and from $26.88 to $21.000 for B grade positions. These pay cuts could be worsened if they were not able to maintain productivity rates.  Other cuts in conditions include a reductions in long service leave (20%), night shift allowances ($11.30), daily cleaning allowance ($6.25 per day) and breakdown payments.  The annual income of most workers is between $43,000 & $46,000.

Corporate Citizen

The company prides itself has being a good corporate citizen! ANZCO foods the parent company exports beef and lamb products to over 80 countries. Its customers include Waitrose in the UK, as well as McDonalds here.

The irony is ANZCO foods annual turnover exceeded $1.3 billion and the company boasts that it is one of New Zealands largest exporters. MWU have been informed that ANZCO posted $4 million to its Japanese shareholders last season.

Perhaps we should rephrase good corporate citizen to mean greedy corporate citizen!

Recent media reports are that the company is wishing to employ seasonal labour from the Pacific Islands. One can assume in plain English that they are trying to recruit scabs to enable them to work through the peak season.

This is a concerted attack on the union in the meat processing industry with similar tactics being used to get workers to sign up to individual employment contracts being employed by AFFCO.

Socialist Appeal urges all workers to get behind the CTU solidarity campaign.

Donations: NZCTU Disputes Fund 38 9007 0894028 08

Adopt a family:Provide food or Money for a family contact eileenbnzctu.org.nz

McDonalds Campaign: go to www.union.org.nz

Email protests to ANZCO key shareholder Sir Graeme Harrison. Graeme.Harrison@anzcofoods.com