New Zealand’s reputation as a meat supplier to the UK is now under threat because of the ongoing lockout of workers at a New Zealand meat plant, the NZ Council of Trade Unions has said.
Over 100 workers, members of the NZ Meat Workers Union from CMP Rangitikei plant in Marton, NZ have been locked out since October 19th over stalled contract negotiations.
Unite has joined forces with the CTU and has pledged to picket supermarket chain Waitrose, which buys meat from the plant, if a settlement is not reached.
“That has huge implications for the New Zealand meat brand. This clean, green, lovely little country we are meant to be is forcing workers into starvation basically or into pay cuts,” CTU president Helen Kelly said.
“This dispute is between CMP Rangitikei and the New Zealand Meat Workers Union and nobody else,” CMP Rangitikei general manager Darryl McKenzie said.
As its panto season – all together “Oh no its not!”
Helen Kelly said Waitrose has a commitment to ethical standards in its supply chain which includes respecting workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. She said the workers were facing a 20 to 30 per cent pay cut.
CMP supplies Waitrose in the UK as well as McDonalds. Unite has already given strong support with Len McCluskey putting significant pressure on Waitrose and with Scot Walker and the Unite meat combine doing great work in highlighting their plight. Amanda Chase, one of their locked out workers to attend the Unite recent sector conferences.
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