Alarm over AFFCO/Talley’s bid to muzzle social media posts
Embargoed until 12.00am April 28th
Meat Workers Union sounds the alarm over AFFCO/Talley’s bid to muzzle social media posts
The Meat Workers Union says AFFCO/Talley’s is trying to muzzle free speech and the right of workers to speak out, after the company filed legal action to control what the union can post online about the company.
Last Friday, AFFCO/Talley’s lodged a claim with the Employment Authority for an interim compliance order banning union officials and members from posting comments on websites, Facebook, Twitter and other Internet forums.
The claim would require the union, its members and agents to “comply with the duty of good faith by ceasing and desisting from publishing on any website, twitter account or other site viewable on the internet, items referring to the applicant or its parent company or officers that are unbalanced, misleading, untruthful, and/or derogatory until further order of the Authority.”
AFFCO/Talley’s is also seeking to ban Meat Workers Union organiser, Darien Fenton from representing members during talks or mediation.
Darien Fenton says the move is nonsense and a blatant bid to silence her and the workers she represents.
“This is an abuse of court processes, designed to intimidate, and definitely to shut me and our members down because we disagree with the company from time to time.”
She says in the past, the company has threatened to sue her, the Meat Workers Union and former CTU President, Helen Kelly but this latest move is a new low.
Talley’s controlled companies have been found on multiple occasions by the Employment Authority and/or Court to have breached workers’ rights.
The Assistant National Secretary of the manufacturing and services union, E tū, John Ryall says the legal action is a sinister new chapter in on-going efforts by many employers to silence workers.
He says it’s an obvious assault on freedom of speech.
“This company is trying to shut down people who have a right to say what they please, within legal constraints.
“More and more, we’re seeing employers trying to dominate workers’ lives in terms of protecting the interests of the company brand or interests.”