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Vol. 76/No. 22      June 4, 2012

Striking meat workers
rally in New Zealand
Militant/Felicity Coggan

TE PUKE, New Zealand—Meat Workers Union members on strike against the AFFCO meat export company led a march of 400 people in this Bay of Plenty town May 19. Strikers from AFFCO’s nearby Rangiuru works and from a number of other plants across the North Island joined the action with other union supporters. The march made its way to a local park for a solidarity picnic organized by the union and local Maori community.

Helen Kelly, president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, addressed the march, urging solidarity with the 1,300 workers who have been on strike since May 2 to oppose a company contract proposal giving the company a free hand to speed up production and scrap seniority protections for workers being rehired after seasonal layoffs. The workers struck after the bosses imposed a selective lockout in which they closed the gates to hundreds of union members at six plants in late February and early March.

“If we sign their contract we’re going to throw out everything our union fought for,” striker Les Governor, who works in Wairoa, told the Militant at the picnic.

Days after the event representatives of the company and union reached a tentative agreement, which will be brought before the union membership.


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