Meatworks Strike Off
April 9, 2002
A strike by tradespeople at six South Island meatworks has been called off.
A confidential settlement was reached late yesterday during mediation between executives from PPCS and the workers’ union, the EPMU.
The strike, by more than 100 tradespeople at plants in at Marlborough, Canterbury, Belfast, Harewood, Ashburton and Balclutha, was due to start just after midnight on Wednesday (ie Thursday morning). The workers say their pay has fallen more than $3 an hour behind people with similar skills in other industries.
The strike threatened to close the meatworks at the height of the killing season and could have affected more than 1000 meatworkers.
Company representatives made a new offer late this afternoon. The settlement has yet to be ratified by the full workforce, but their elected delegates are recommending they accept it.
EPMU South Island regional secretary Ged O’Connell said that he expected members would be pleased with the offer.
“It’s a good settlement,” he said. “We are delighted that the company has acknowledged the fact that wages had fallen behind other industries and we are looking forward to working the company on reviewing the remuneration system for tradespeople.”
Meanwhile, 250 workers at a Christchurch cablemaking plant have been locked out.
Trades and production staff at General Cable in Riccarton walked off the job yesterday in protest over a two per cent pay offer. They are seeking four per cent.
Today the company locked them out.
Mr O’Connell said that he hoped the issues could be worked through quickly and the workers would be allowed to return to work.
“They are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”