Farmers’ options are running out as the labour dispute at Talleys AFFCO drags on, and many farmers will now be sending their beef to rival processors.
Federated Farmers meat and fibre chair, Jeanette Maxwell, says North Island farmers will have to decide very shortly how much longer they are prepared to wait for AFFCO, against needing to get rid of their stock before Winter.
“It will be interesting, because the pressure is starting to come on, and so farmers will have to make the critical choice. I mean AFFCO is not completely not working, because they have got non-union staff and what have you still working.
“But as the pressure for the beef kill increases, critical decisions will have to be made by both parties.”
Because AFFCO doesn’t have supply contracts, farmers are free to supply rival processors, and Jeanette Maxwell says AFFCO’s competitors may profit from the dispute.
Meanwhile, Mana Party leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira. told Country 99TV that Maori farm owners around the country are meeting to discuss taking a stand against Talleys AFFCO.
He says Maori farm owners want AFFCO to be more amenable to the wage negotiation process.
Mr Harawira says he has seen firsthand the hurt the Talley family is causing Affco workers and their children in the town of Morewa in the far North, despite the Moerewa AFFCO plant being one of its top performers.
“They got rid of the Unions in their fishing industry, they got rid of the Unions in their factories, and they intend to do the same thing in their meat plants.
“What they’re doing is not so much about performance, it’s about union bashing. And I just don’t think people up here like the way Talleys are using all of their money and all of their power to bash workers.”
While the workers are doing it tough after being locked out for more than 10 weeks, Mr Harawira says support for them is strong.
“There’s a lot of support for them. I stopped in there (Moerewa) on Friday and there was a group that was coming up to Hui at Te Kao from Waikato. And they stopped off there too to show their support.
“There is a lot of support for the workers and their families and I have to say very little support for what the company is doing.”