Congratulations to the members of the Meat Workers Union who have won in court against New Zealand’s most douchebaggy of employers, Talley’s.
The Court unanimously decided that the lockout of workers across the North Island earlier this year was illegal, and Talley’s AFFCO had breached Section 32 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 by not acting in good faith while negotiations were going on.
MWU National Secretary Graham Cook said the decision was fantastic for Talley’s AFFCO workers and their families.
“Talley’s have tried just about everything to stop these workers from being able to bargain for a fair deal. They’ve forced some workers onto individual agreements, they’ve tried to undermine the union behind closed doors.
“But today Talley’s have lost.
Talley’s are an absolute blight on New Zealand industry. They’re basically a caricature of a bad employer. They’ve knowingly and wilfully paid women less to do the same work as men. They literally believe that making money is more important than keeping the people who work for them safe on the job. They have a terrible health and safety record and a kneejerk hatred of unions.
They’re the kind of employer that our government stands up for, time and time again. And the (grimly) hilarious thing is how counter-productive their attitude is. As new CTU president Richard Wagstaff says:
Good employers know that treating employees fairly and respectfully is the way to build a happy productive workplace.
Paying the people who work for you enough to feed their kids, keeping people safe and healthy, treating people with basic respect and a bit of dignity – shockingly, it’s good for business. Treating people like people and not robots – terrifyingly, it makes them happier and healthier, it makes their families happier and healthier, it benefits our entire society, including the profit-making business-owning parts.
The radical idea, which the Talley family and the Key government simply can’t get their heads around, is that short-term thinking doesn’t return long-term benefits. Screwing over workers now to make profit now doesn’t support the society which sustains your business.
This is what gobsmacks me about the right in New Zealand: they’re not actually very good at doing capitalism. But as long as they get their knighthoods and can retire to Hawaii, I don’t think they really care.
You can support the meat workers’ campaign at the Jobs That Count website.