Where is all the Meatworkers Money Going?

The Meatworkers Union are in a dispute with AFFCO. They have rolled in Simon Oosterman to manage their campaign, they have copied the form and style of the Auckland Wharfies in their protest materials and yesterday rolled out the poorly researched Simon Collins to run the same old tired union lines about the impoverished families.

They are making all sorts of claims so I have been looking into their background. They are a very secretive organisation, so it is hard to find out what they are doing. They don’t even disclose their union fees on their web site.

The Meatworkers Union claims to have over 23,000 members. What I am picking up from various sources is they have membership dues of between $5-6 per week for a 40 week season, and conservatively collect about $5m per year from workers.

Yet the public union accounts declare on $$712,370. So where is the other $4 million plus money going?

I have many more questions about their dodgy finances too…more on that later.


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  • Kiwidon

    A good topic to keep in the headlights! (or spotlight!)

  • Owl

    I agree. There is a meat union with $1m in assets and cash and has not filed their returns in years -details next week.

  • Owl

    On that article I read that union members get $1000 for turning up to work. How embarrassing that grown adults have to be bribed to come to work. No sympathy for affco union members…this is a childish condition. It is like bribing my kids to clean their rooms. What a pathetic collective agreement clause.
    You are adults you don’t need to be bribed to go to work. That is what a million other people do every day and if they dont they get sacked!

    • Acting Up

      Hi Owl, is that $1000 for starting work? Is it for signing onto an individual agreement? Is it a recruitment incentive? Would like to know more before forming a view.

      You state that the $1000 is part of an agreement? So freely offered and accepted? What’s wrong with that?

      • Owl

        “A Horotiu labourer who asked to be called just “Barry” said he signed
        up as an individual from the start because he was afraid of being
        locked out if he joined the collective, and to get a $1000 bonus paid
        to the individual contractors each year if they turn up for work at
        least 98 per cent of the time. ” NZ Herald

        The OWL is a decent man and happy to correct- it is for individual contracts – still a fundamental flaw in any contract.

        I understand there is a clause in the union contract whch is described differently around productivity
        The OWL apologies for mis-reading the article

      • Acting Up

        Good on you, Owl.

      • Acting Up

        Forgot to comment on the $1000 bonus. It does seem to be an unusual one. You would think that the normal rate of pay and pride in work would be sufficient for someone to come to work and do a decent job. You would normally expect a bonus to be paid for something like meeting certain productivity criteria, not for just turning up.

        It does look like an added incentive for someone to not join the union, if it is not mirrored in the collective agreement.

        It may also contain a danger. In a food processing plant, you would hope that the processing is not being done by people who are sick. If a contractor had a bonus at risk because they fall below the 98% attendance level because if illness, then they may come to work sick. Not good if you are handling food, and also risk infecting others on the chain. So the employer is paying money that may actually decrease productivity and a safe product. Could be counter-productive.

        Unless the real aim is to encourage people to not join the union. Then such a bonus makes perfect sense.

      • Owl

        Acting Up.
        The OWL doesnt swear – the OWL always apologises if he is incorrect – in this case I made a mistake.
        The OWL only uses information in the public domain
        The OWL is a decent person.

        The OWL enjoys making observation on processes – never plays the man

    • Peter Wilson

      I’m guessing the union and the employer looks on it another way.

      Paying bonuses for positive behaviour, such as lowering absenteeism and sickness, is a balancing act. Sure, we’d hope people do that anyway, but every industry has such problems – office workers taking long lunch breaks for example.

      I’ve always hoped things like using public transport could be done the same way. So many trips on buses would generate a tax deduction, or a contribution to kiwi saver – as opposed to punitive encouragement like higher petrol prices.

  • Acting Up

    The phrase “in dispute” doesn’t quite get the reality – hundreds of meat workers have been locked out by their employer, including over Easter, in order to force them to settle a collective agreement.

    So impoverished families is sadly becoming a reality – it’s not some propaganda beat-up. Not a lot of alternative work in many of the locations where AFFCO meatworks are placed.

    AFFCO are looking like a pretty militant bunch to me. Anyone calling for an audit of their finances? Do they really need that extra profit?