AFFCO Talley sentencing: does the punishment fit the crime?
NZ Meat Workers Union
20th April 2016
AFFCO Talleys convicted and sentenced, but does the punishment fit the crime?
The conviction and $30,000 fine today in the Tauranga District Court for the horrific injury of a worker caught by a meat hook and left angling for nearly an hour at AFFCO Talley’s Rangiuru plant in 2014 is not a sufficient deterrent, says the Meat Workers Union.
The Court also awarded $25,000 in reparation to the worker, Jason Matahiki.
“Jason Matahiki and his family have suffered terribly from this accident. The company made it worse by pleading not guilty to the Worksafe prosecution, and in so doing, put an innocent worker through more unnecessary stress by trying to blame him for the accident.
“Even today, the Chairperson of the Company Sam Lewis is reported as saying that “the person should have known the chain shouldn’t have been moving and why didn’t he step back and not do his job.”
“Jason has bravely spoken out about his accident and the consequences for him and his family. That took guts, but at the same time taken a toll on him, bringing back horrific memories.
“AFFCO Talleys say they take health and safety seriously. They write the books and do the paperwork, but resist worker participation as the cornerstone of improving health and safety.
"Chairperson Sam Lewis’ also commented today that “the company was moving towards dealing direct with staff - rather than through the union - and wanted to impress a need for employees to take greater individual responsibility around work practices”. This doesn’t instil confidence that AFFCO Talley have learned from this terrible accident.
“When AFFCO Talley’s welcomes the involvement of workers, including those who freely choose to join unions and when those workers are able to speak out without fear, we might begin to see some progress.