The lockout of more than 100 workers at ANZCO CMP Meatworks in Marton is now in its second month over the employer’s demand for 20% paycuts and increased workloads. Efforts by the workers’ union to reach a compromise so far have been rejected. The local community, food-banks and workers from around the country, many of whom are already struggling from the impact of cost of living increases,are digging deep to help these workers feed their families. That can’t carry on. Families are hurting, the local economy is suffering and New Zealand’s international reputation is being affected.
Predictably, there’s been silence from the Minister of Labour and John Key in this very serious situation, and they’ve left their hapless and inexperienced Rangitikei candidate to deal with it.
Then there’s the almost daily announcements of lay-offs. Today it’s Milton Woollen Mills. Yesterday, it was Sleepyhead.
The National Party Industrial Relations policy for this election will encourage more of the hard-line tactics being used by ANZCO CMP. They want to give employers the right to veto multi-employer collective agreements, refuse to conclude collective bargaining, and put workers on individual agreements when they start work.
National’s priorities for early legislation, announced today, include cutting pay for young workers and privatising the ACC work account. How sad is that?
The last time a National government tried these race to the bottom ideas, the wage gap with Australia grew enormously, workers lost long-held conditions, low pay became endemic in many important industries and we lost a generation of skilled workers.
John Key insists that he will build a brighter future (actually, I thought he promised that last election).
There’s no brighter future for laid off or locked out workers, or those who only got a 25 cents increase in the minimum wage this year.
Clear choice Saturday.