One of the lines from the first leaders debate that stood out for me was Bill English saying he’d been telling a group of meat workers that they would be taxed an extra thousand dollars by Labour.
Now that’s a porky in itself; the Nats are proposing that they cut tax for the average earner by $20 per week, which is not the same as his implication that Labour would raise income tax.
However, that’s not the interesting aspect for me.
English says he spoke to workers at AFFCO Horotiu.
That’s a Talleys Group plant.
The workers English talked to were locked out 5 years ago in a brutal attempt by the Talley family to starve them into accepting lower wages and conditions. The reality for these workers is that under National, they have lost income, rights and, importantly, certainty of employment.
Millions of dollars of wages were lost by those workers. That’s the reality that Bill English prefers to ignore.
One of the unusual features of working at a Talley’s owned meat plant is that the production workers often work under a regime of regular layoffs. They can be required to sign fresh employment contracts as often as four times year. If your face no longer fits, you don’t get offered a new contract.
I’ll be blunt; the Talleys Group are the cutting edge in worker exploitation. Their preferred employment regime appears to be keeping their workers in a constant state of fear. The contract rollovers mean there is no certainty of ongoing employment at all.
So, what’s the significance of Bill English’s remark?
I understand that National Party candidates have been invited to talk to workers at many AFFCO plants. Labour candidates … not so much!
The Talleys are desperate to see the Nat’s stay in power. If Labour bring in their proposed Industry Standards for pay and conditions, all players in the meat industry are going to have pay their workers fairly.
Clearly, that’s anathema to the Talleys family.
In a slaughterhouse, one of the more unpleasant tasks is controlling the dead beast’s fecal matter. I won’t upset delicate readers by describing the process, but I can tell you what is used is called an ‘anal bung’.
That’s also the phrase I like to use when talking about the huge amounts the Talleys donate to the Nats each election.
Bill English’s Anal Bung. It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?
Oh, and because I’m an equal opportunities kinda guy, can I just remind everyone that it appears that the Talleys are funding Shane Jones in Whangarei. A vote for NZ First is also a vote to keep workers petrified and poor. Don’t do it. Vote to make NZ workplaces fair and fear free.