New Zealand meat workers lockout enters eighth week

Over 1,300 meat workers of the New Zealand processing company Affco held a five-day strike last week in support of 1,000 workers locked out from five plants since February 29 over a collective agreement dispute. On April 13, 300 meatworkers, along with families and supporters, marched through the Northland township of Moerewa to the local Affco plant. A second protest in Whanganui the following day attracted over 500 people.

The latest strike follows one over Easter, called after Affco announced that 480 workers would be locked out for the holiday weekend, in addition to those locked out since February. Meat Workers Union (MWU) officials said the Easter lockout was designed to save the company thousands of dollars in statutory holiday pay.

The union representing nearly 1000 locked-out meat workers has filed an application for a court injunction to try and get its workers back to processing plants while court hearings and mediation continue.