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We Can Learn From Our Past

Meat Union Aotearoa

JULY 2005

We Can Learn From Our Past

27 October 1990

National was elected the Government and the EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS ACT became Law 15 May 1991. The National Meat Workers Award expired 14 May 1991. This allowed meat companies to “slash & burn” wages and allowances. Many companies wrote their own contracts and told workers to sign, or no job!

The passing of the Employment Contacts Act 1991 encouraged ‘greed’ and many employers “hard balled” their employees & their families by

. Reducing hourly rates & bonus payments

. Eliminating rate and half plus double time

. Increasing the 40 hour week to 45 hours


. Eliminating shift allowances

. Reducing chain mannings

. Loss of extra holidays for shift workers, and many other conditions undermined

In 1996 Riverlands Eltham (Itoham Foods) demanded a 42% increase in cattle tally with a 25% wage cut.

In 1993 these same Eltham meat workers took wage cuts and increased the cattle tally by 7.8%. Taylor Preston Ltd & Wallace Meats also slashed wages. We took a “harsh & Oppressive” Court Case against W. Tuckers and won a backpay claim

ELTHAM Lockout

1995 Contract Take it or leave it contract
Cattle per day 180 256
Number of workers 53 53
Pay per hour $20 $15

National’s workplace Law Policy

X EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS ACT (Mk II) Repairing the “serious deficiencies” of the Holidays Act 2003, particularly in relation to payment for public holidays, sick leave and bereavement leave, which should not include overtime and production bonuses. Reverting to “ordinary pay - $10 per hour” from “relevant daily pay”. Abolition of “relevant daily pay”.

X Workers will lose the 4th week holiday in 2007. Workers will again need to produce a medical certificate after their first day sick.

X Removal of paid work meeting entitlement for union members - if unions want meetings, these should be held outside work time

X Removal of the automatic right of union access to workplaces

X Deduction of union fees by the employer - only if he wants to

X National will repeal each and every provision of the 2004 Employment Relations Act amendments.

X Abolition of paid employment relations education leave and also H & S paid education leave. They intend to reduce other Minimum employment conditions.

Labour, Green & Progressive have made it clear that they intend to continue to improve workplace law for all working New Zealanders.

Four weeks annual leave - 1 April 2007

Minimum wage up 35.7%

Stronger workplace health &safety laws

Fairer workplace employment laws


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