13 August 2004
Oh McCain, don't threaten us again
McCain's bosses threats to shut their Feilding plant down unless workers take pay cuts of up to 22% has been unanimously rejected by the Service and Food Workers Union. In the middle of bargaining the company dropped a bombshell and announced a review of the plant with an option to close the factory and shift to Timaru.
The company did not inform the local SFWU office until shortly before staff were told.
"We thought this was a routine meeting about the end of season. We wanted our Union organizer there." said SFWU delegate Alana Sherwill
The surprise announcement was followed by a union meeting, in which SFWU members soundly rejected the proposals from the company.
"Not only are the bosses wanting to cut wages to make bigger profits, they want to undercut the wages of McCain's workers in Timaru. Proposals for at least half of the Feilding plant cuts will undercut Timaru rates for many positions, such as forklift operators, Fry line operators and machine operators wages." said SFWU Manawatu organiser Thomas O'Neill
Workers in both plants are meeting to discuss the company proposal. The two plants have Collective Employment Agreements that the union members fought hard to get.
McCain's brought the Feilding plant in 2001 from Heinz Wattie's Australasia. At the time McCain Chairman Harrison McCain said the purchase included 'associated good will' but since that time McCain's have demanded wage cuts and have threatened closure of the plant at every wage bargaining round.
"What this heralds for other workers in McCain's factories around the world can only be describes as a race to the bottom - while the McCain profits go through the roof!" said Mr O'Neill