Meat Workers Union

The Owl speaks out on The Herald stories on Union attacks by WOBH

The Owl writes:

I read with interest the articles and in the whole do not see anything major.

The Owl has always put the union members heart on the front foot on union financial matters.

Firstly I have never been paid by anyone and nor have I ever seeked any financial contributions. I am seriously ‘Joe Public’. WO can verify this and would stand in court with my head held high and swear an oath. I had no editorial rights nor sort any.

Think of it this way – instead of writing a letter to the editor of the Herald, I wrote a letter to the editor of a Blog.  Read more »

The Meatworker’s Millions

The Meatworkers Union has finally complied with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies orders to file proper accounts. Those orders came after the Meatworkers were busted by this blog and Rodney hide wrote to the Registrar. The Maritime Union is in the same boat…we await their true accounts.

Remember Helen Kelly described the holding to account of the Meatworkers Union to their legal and statutory requirements as “hatred

The accounts are revealing. The Owl is preparing further posts…but here are some headline numbers.

Meat Workers Union disclose losses and million dollar salary expenses – by the Owl

The NZ Meat Workers Unions filed their consolidated position of all the branches overnight and after previously reporting only the capitation income at head office levels and a cheery surplus of $17,672, revenues of $700k and salary and consultant costs of approximately $150,000.00 it can now be revealed that the true situation is vastly different from that portrayed.

In fact the Union had made losses of over $300k in the last two years paid out salaries and commissions of $1.29M and their revenue was a combined of $2.8M.

The whole integrity of the Incorporated Society Act is at stake.

More importantly the auditors qualify the accounts by saying they “have not received all the information and explanations as required”

More to follow…

Maritime Union in the poo

The dodgy Maritime Union is now under investigation by The Registrar of Incorporated Societies. As is usual the union bosses think it is just fine to hide literally millions of dollars of cash from the intention of the law and the view of their members. Between the vigilance of The Owl on this blog and the tenacity of Rodney Hide they are being forced to come clean on their accounts.

The Maritime Union is next in the firing line over filing incomplete accounts – and that might be the tip of the iceberg.

The Registrar of Incorporated Societies, Neville Harris, has put his foot down over six years of incomplete Meat Workers Union accounts.

Mr Harris told NBR ONLINE his office is reviewing “financial statement compliance” by those incorporated societies which are registered unions.

“My office is in discussion with the Maritime Union of New Zealand on issues similar to that raised in the NZ Meat Workers and Related Trades Union matter.”

In today’s Hidesight column in NBR Print, Rodney Hide says the Maritime Union, too, has been hiding millions of dollars in its accounts and the failure “goes back a long time”.

The Maritime Union has 2800 members in 13 branches, with about half its membership in Auckland – the branch in dispute with Ports of Auckland.

Union national president Garry Parsloe says “heaps of unions” send their national accounts, but not their branch office accounts, to the registrar.

There is “nothing secretive in it”, he says, as each Maritime Union member gets a copy of the branch accounts.

“If we have to conform with that, we’ll conform with it.

“We’re pretty relaxed about it from what I can understand because we have an auditor in every branch, we have returning officer at every branch and we put in tax returns and declare it all.”

The issue will be considered by the union’s national conference, which starts on Monday.

“Every branch is declared it’s just that they seem to want it declared again in that way.”

The Meatworkers were pretty relaxed but they were forced to comply with the law, and so far have failed to do so. I believe that there is a union scam going on here that needs to be opened up.

 

Meatworkers in serious trouble

Contrary to claims made previously that I was manufacturing silliness about the Meatworkers dodgy accounting practices they are now in serious trouble.

NBR reports (paid content):

The Registrar of Incorporated Societies is putting his foot down over six years of incomplete Meat Workers Union’s accounts, hiding millions of dollars.

After questions were raised by NBR columnist Rodney Hide, registrar Neville Harris originally gave the union until October 12 to file its 2011 accounts, including the previously missing branch office accounts.

The union has only provided head office accounts to the Societies Register since 2005.

Mr Harris says the union, formally known as the New Zealand Meat Workers and Related Trades Union, missed the October 12 deadline.

That is because of an Incorporated Societies Act requirement for the union’s accounts to be approved by its members at a general meeting, which is being held on November 7.

Union general secretary Graham Cooke told NBR ONLINE last month it was happy to provide a 2011 set of consolidated accounts, but it was battling Mr Harris’s request for the previous five years because of the cost.

However, Mr Harris – the deputy secretary of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – is putting his foot down.

Hide on the Meatworkers Union

Rodney Hide has obviously been following my exposure of the dodgy accounting practices of the Meat Workers Union. He has complained to the Registrar but is meeting some strange resistance to requiring the union to follow the law.

I was recently told about some serious spending by the New Zealand Meat Workers Union that surprised me.

It was so surprising that I thought I should check it out.

No problem. I would just look up their audited accounts that the Registrar of Incorporated Societies would hold. That way I could determine if the story I was told was true.

I was shocked to learn the accounts aren’t there. The meatworkers have four branches and for the past seven years have only been disclosing the capitation fees paid by the four branches to the national body.

For the year ended September 2010 the disclosed income was $712,370.

The total income to the union is several million dollars a year.

That’s a failure over the years to disclose tens of millions of dollars

The law is clear. To be a union, an organisation must be incorporated. And incorporated societies must file annual financial statements that members of the public can inspect. The advantage of incorporation is that it gives a legal personality separate from the society’s members. In return, members of the public can inspect the society’s accounts.

But I can’t for the Meat Workers Union. Neither can you. And that’s been the case for seven years.

The Meatworkers Union is clearly and demonstrably breaking the law. Rodney complained and that is where this story becomes weird:

Parliament has provided the registrar with the power to require records. So I wrote to the registrar pointing out the meatworkers’ failure. I suggested he use his power to get the branch records for the last seven years and make them publicly available.

That was back in May. The registrar is Neville Harris, deputy secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development, which is part of a new super ministry. He advised me that he had been aware of the meatworkers’ failure to disclose their accounts since November 2011.  My information was not news to him.

He explained he had been in contact with the union and was following up with the objective of having it file a “revised financial statement” that includes information relating to the activities of its branches.

I have had no explanation why he doesn’t just demand the branch records and why he is speaking of just one financial statement singular when there are several years missing.

It’s a complete mystery to me why the registrar just doesn’t demand the branch records and made them publicly available. After all, that’s the law’s requirement of unions and incorporated societies.

Mr Harris and I now have had quite a correspondence. I can report that I am no further ahead than when I started.

There must be some real dodgy stuff in there given they are fighting so hard to keep their books secret. I suspect there will be nice payments to the bosses and good fat donations to Labour that have never been declared.

With the Health Services Union debacle in Australia it is highly likely that at least one union is rorting their members in a similar manner.

Nick Smith on the Talleys

ᔄ Stuff.co.nz

Nick Smith makes some telling points. The Meat Workers Union may think the Talleys are ripping them off, but as Nick points out they have not relocated off shore.

Nelson MP Nick Smith describes them as tough but fair. “They are very patriotic New Zealanders and very loyal to Nelson. If they were driven purely by profit, they would have relocated long ago.”

Interesting choice of word, patriotic. My understanding is the Talleys have been massive benefactors to New Zealand, and care passionately about the direction New Zealand is going in.

The union movement might like to consider Peter Talley’s campaign to keep fishing jobs in New Zealand.

But at the same time he was outspoken against foreign-owned trawlers plundering New Zealand waters.

Peter Talley took an ethical stand that other prominent New Zealand companies like Sanfords have not.

Are the Meatworkers Union Hiding Money Legally?

The Meatworkers Union declared income of $712,370 in the year ending September 30th, 2010. Yet a rough calculation means suggests they are collecting approximately $5 million in membership fees.

Meat Workers Union 2010 Accounts

So there is a shortfall of about $4 million that is not publically declared.

If I were a member of the meatworkers union I would be asking my union rep where the money is. $4 million is an awful lot of money to not be in the union accounts.

I would also ask why the 2011 accounts haven’t been filed either.