Wellington Scoop

Locked-out workers picket Marton meat processing factory and “vow to fight on”

News from NZ Meatworkers Union
ANZCO closed its CMP Rangitikei sheep processing plant today due to a 200-strong picket. Protesters included 100 locked out workers and fifty worker representative from every major New Zealand meat plant.

Picketers came from as far as Moerewa in the far north and Invercargill in the deep south.

ANZCO locked out New Zealand Meat Workers Union (NZMWU) members on October 19 when they refused to accept pay cuts of up to 20%, shift changes and cuts in allowances.

NZMWU negotiator Roger Middlemass says the fight at CMP has ramifications for the entire meat industry workforce.

“Sir Graeme Harrison wants to start a race to the bottom in the meat industry,” he says. “If ANZCO CMP gets away with 20% wage cuts in one plant, they’ll try it in their other plants and then the other companies will want the same.”

Mr Middlemass says works confidence was boosted by today’s show of support and successful closure of the plant and vow to fight on.

News from Council of Trade Unions
The NZCTU today welcomes the solidarity support being shown by union members of the Japanese unions working in ITOHAM Foods and Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd – two companies that part own ANZCO.

These workers have expressed concern that the companies they work for may be involved in the attempt by ANZCO to reduce workers’ wages at CMP Rangitikei by 20% and that workers at the plant have been locked out. They will be raising the matter with their employers and seeking an explanation of whether or not the companies support the moves by ANZCO.

CTU President Helen Kelly said “ANZCO is a multi-national company masquerading as a New Zealand company with two major shareholders being based in Japan. International solidarity is at the core of union movement activity and the decision by the unions in Japan to support workers half way around the world when a dispute like this arises is an example of that solidarity in action.”

“Japan has faced some very tough times itself recently and it is times like these that all workers know that their fate lies in each other’s hands. The locked out workers at CMP Rangitikei will be very pleased to hear that the unions of ITHOHAM foods and NIPPON SUISAN and the Federation of All Japan Foods and Tobacco Workers’ Unions (JFU) affiliated with JTUC-RENGO are providing this support,” said Helen Kelly.