Affco

Labour MP forced to apologise to Talleys, that must have hurt

Iain Lees-Galloway is quick to rush out the press releases, but it seems he is less discerning about the information he imparts than he is about facilitating relations with parliament’s stenographers.

This time, he got smacked up and presumably some lawyers letters ensued.

Iain Lees-Galloway has (sort of) apologised.

Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway has been advised by AFFCO Ltd that AFFCO is not advertising for staff in the Manawatu through MSD as stated in a press statement released earlier today.

“I have been advised by AFFCO that the advertisement referred to was not placed by them. I accept their word on this and apologise for the error. I stand by my wider comments concerning Talley’s poor treatment of its workers,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

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The Nation asks if Talleys is a good corporate citizen but uses a man who threatens violence and rape as their front man

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The Nation on TV3 did a hit job on Talleys yesterday and replayed it again this morning.

They presented a worker called Phillip Reweti Bear, He is also standing for the Wanganui Council.

We have covered this ratbag before and his behaviour. Where he threatened Paula Bennett with rape and violence.

So yesterday morning we had The Nation asking AFFCO and Talleys are good corporate citizens?

Well what about the guy they were promoting, is he a good citizen? He’s still at the threats of violence, here is a recent outburst:

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Unionist bullies colleague, gets compensation

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This just in from Radio NZ:

AFFCO has been ordered to reinstate a worker the Employment Relations Authority says was unfairly treated by the company. […]

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AFFCO rules union T-Shirts are as bad as gang insignia

I can see AFFCO’s point. Unions act like thugs with bullying tactics.

If I was an employer I wouldn’t want my staff coming to work in union patches.

Workers at AFFCO’s Rangiuru and Horotiu plants have been told they are not allowed to wear union t-shirts to work, the Meat Workers Union says.

Last month, the Employment Court ruled the company had acted in bad faith and undermined the union during contract talks.

The union said, since then, workers on contracts had been bullied by supervisors.

Union organising director Darien Fenton said, in the latest incident, the employer at the Rangiuru plant near Te Puke told workers they were not allowed to wear their t-shirts to work and likened them to gang insignia.    Read more »

I wonder if the CTU will refund the donations now

The other day we wrote about the CTU using Give A Little to raise funds for their strike action against Talleys and AFFCO.

It seems they were all talk about the strike action, as it has been called off now.

A strike planned by Affco meat processing workers on Monday, and a rally at Parliament on Tuesday, have been called off.

The turnaround came after Meat Workers Union representatives met with Andrew Talley, director of Affco owner Talleys, plus iwi leaders Ken Mair and Tuku Morgan on Saturday.

Affco sites will meet in the coming days to consider developments. No further comment would be made by the union.

Workers at Affco’s eight North Island meat processing plants were to go on strike for two days this week in protest over what the union claims is their “third world conditions”.    Read more »

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Talley’s not bending to union bullying – workers go on strike

Unions are destructive and so last century.  Wherever they get involved they leave destruction in their wake.

Just look at the great job they have done with the Labour Party over the last 6 years.

But things aren’t looking up for Helen Kelly and her rent a mob, they’ve been put on notice.

The Meat Workers Union says its 1000 members at Affco plants in the North Island will go on strike for two days next week.

The union says members voted overwhelmingly for the strike action at the eight meat works after the company, owned by the Motueka-based Talley family, walked away from mediation last week.

Union national secretary Graham Cook said Affco was the first company to take advantage of an employment law change which allowed employers to walk away from mediation.

“Talley’s is an outlier in the meat industry in the way it deals with employment relations and health and safety,” he said.   Read more »

Farrar on Industrial Relations Ctd

David Farrar’s bold assumptions about the article on the AFFCO dispute managed to rile up a senior IR lawyer who has contacted the tipline – with the request to remain anonymous because her claims about judicial activism could cost her cases when she is next in front of the employment court.

Affco’s employment contract commented on by David Farrar is still seen as reasonably aggressive but it is there to counter an increasing active and aggressive Employment Authority/Court where personal grievances are lost by employers on the ratio of 8 in every 10. Employers knowing this will often concede outside of court as even if they win it costs them more in time and legal fees to fight the case than to settle, tilting the balance heavily in favour of employees.

This type of clause has its roots in a move to adopt a “belt and braces” approach to termination rights. The Employment Court has awarded so many PGs against an employer on the basis that their ability to end an employment relationship was unclear, ambiguous or questionable. The onus is on the employer to show they have the right to sack the employee, and if there is ambiguity is always the employer who will lose.

The more you can put that doubt to bed the stronger your case in any PG for wrongful termination. Further the greater clarity and certainty you can provide around the respective rights of employees/employers (as a irreconcilable difference clause purports to do) the less likely you are to raise frivolous claims.

This clause is a  legitimate response to an increasingly interventionist and active employment bench. A precautionary approach to the uncertainty that current employment law provides, and the cost to employers of having to sack dud employees who then take personal grievance claims.

No surprise here. Labour introduces industrial relation laws that allow its activist judiciary to impose more unnecessary costs on employers, slowing economic growth. This is I understand the underlying issue that the Ports of Auckland faced, an activist judge willing to test prior case law to prove a personal point.

Farrar on Industrial Law, Ctd

David Farrar’s post yesterday about the Affco dispute had a hedge:

Assuming it has been correctly reported

I dealt with this assumption earlier. Farrar then went on to say:

then I have to say the union has a very reasonable case here.  An irreconciliable differences clause is not reasonably standard. The only place I knew which has them is Parliament, because it is impossible for an MPs office to function if the MP doesn’t have total trust in their staffer/s. But this clause probably wouldn’t even stand up in court, which is why there is always a payout of three or more months with it, if triggered. And often, another job found for the staffer with another MP.

That clause basically does ask meat workers to surrender their employment rights, and allow AFFCO to fire them for no substantive reason. Now I’m in favour of trial periods where you can do that as it is always a risk how a new employee works out. But I would not sign a contract like that if I worked at AFFCO.

An odd call when the about half the AFFCO work force have signed a contract with this clause. The tip line is consistently informing me that AFFCO car parks are filling and strikers pickets reducing, so it can’t be that bad a clause or AFFCO would have no staff.

Finally a balanced article on the AFFCO dispute

 stuff.co.nz

Jon Morgan doesn’t repeat Simon Oosterman’s bullshit press releases and stage managed protests, probably having read the Cecil Walker story and realising that Simon is very, very economical with the truth when talking to reporters.

Obviously not a left wing media hack Jon makes the following obvious point:

The protagonists, the Talley family on one side and the Meatworkers Union on the other, are an irresistible force coming up against an immovable object – or, as one industry source puts it, “a rock hitting a rock”.

Both have fearsome reputations, but the union’s is on the wane while the Talleys’ is on the rise.

A pity this is not obvious to the Meatworkers Union. Their unwillingness to let AFFCO manage their plants and their staff is the cause of this dispute. It is an ideological battle from the 70s that was lost a long time ago.

It is not just the ideological battle lost, the union is losing membership flat out as workers realise AFFCO will pay them a fair days wage for a fair days work and increase their salary by 5%.

Comment of the Day

From a reader in Wanganui on the post A reality check for Helen Kelly and Simon Oosterman.

Inventory2 comments:

Quite so WO; I drove past Imlay in Wanganui an hour or so ago. The afternoon shift had just arrived and day-shift was leaving. As soon as the last car left most of the MWU picketers left too.

But looking over to the plant, the car park was well populated, suggesting that it’s very much business as usual at Imlay for all except the remaining MWU lockout crew. And tellingly, the car park was much more heavily populated than a week or so ago, whilst the crew on the picket line is thinning. It must suck to be locked out, but obviously large numbers have not waited for the MWU to sort things out.