Talley’s Gutted in Court

NZ’s worst employer, Talley’s, have been ordered to reinstate sacked AFFCO union delegates Bertie Ratu and Charmaine Takai. In a separate case, the Employment Relations Authority has found that Talley’s owned South Pacific Meats were acting unlawfully when they limited union officials’ access to workers at two plants in the South Island.

So unlawfully, in fact, that the ERA has fined Talleys a whopping $144,000 and ordered them to pay that sum to the Meat Workers Union. A penalty that large is almost without precedent in NZ employment law.

Darien Fenton, NZMWU Organising Director said today that the union is heartened by the outcome. She points out that the union has “repeatedly sought to access rights to talk to workers as guaranteed by law, and we have repeatedly been frustrated by the Talley’s owned companies across the board”.

Darien Fenton also notes that “This is the third decision in relation to SPM’s unlawful behaviour relating to access. On each occasion their actions have been found to be unlawful.”

Daryl Carran, Otago Southland Secretary, said that it wasn’t just officials who were being who were being denied their rights:

 “(Talley’s) actions have impacted on workers who genuinely want to exercise their freedom of association to join or not join a union. Some workers have paid the price for standing up for the union: for example, a worker was disciplined and then not engaged for the new season after a distributing a union newsletter”.

Frankly, Sir Peter Talley should have his knighthood for services to the National Party business community rescinded. He’s not fit to run a company, let alone hold high honour.

Congratulations to Bertie and Charmaine, well done the MWU.

When workers rights are under attack, STAND UP, FIGHT BACK!


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