Solidarity with Locked out Meatworkers Down under

Waitrose [a part of the John Lewis group] trumpets it’s caring approach.  But they have as a supplier, ANZSCO/CMP, a company which has locked out over 100 of its workers for six weeks, because they won’t accept a 20% pay cut.

Amanda Chase , one of those locked out, has been in theU.K.recently talking to the Food & Drink sector of UNITE.  She says

So many people in Unite have invested in this dispute right from the top, General Secretary Len McCluskey to shop stewards(delegates) and grass roots workers. Its an honour and a privilege to have such comrades locally, ,nationally and internationally. We locked out workers know we represent the stance of unions in totality, past, present, and future, and we will stand strong.

The John Lewis Partnership  Corporate Social Responsibility 2011report says, “Continued commercial success requires a real commitment to doing business responsibly. For us, our commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not only driven by good economics, but also by the Partnership spirit and our sense of doing the ‘right thing’.”

Pressure from U K unionists has forced Waitrose, lest they appear completely hypocritical,  to ask ANZCO to go back to mediation and reach a settlement with locked out CMP Rangitikei workers.

New Zealand Council of Trade Union president Helen Kelly says ANZCO hasn’t followed up on Waitrose’s request.

We’ve come to expect all sorts of unreasonableness from ANZCO, but refusing to listen to Waitrose, its major CMP Rangitikei customer, takes this dispute to another level of madness,” she says. “Despite the locked out workers agreeing to sacrifice 10% of their income, the company continues to try and starve workers and their families into accepting up to 20% pay cuts, to undermine the union and to mislead the public about the company’s proposed cuts.

Mrs Kelly says Waitrose has a commitment to ethical standards in its supply chain which includes respecting workers rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Lockout threatens NZ meat brand in UK

“ANZCO and Chairman Sir Graeme Harrison are threatening the entire New Zealand meat brand in the United Kingdom by not resolving this dispute,” she says. “Unite, Britain’s largest union, will start to picket high profile Waitrose stores if ANZCO doesn’t start negotiating instead of dictating.

ANZCO foods locked out 111 workers from its CMP Rangitikei sheep processing plant on October 19.

Supporters of the locked out workers held their first national fundraising day today outside of McDonalds, a customer of ANZCO.

Pat Bolster
Wellington Trades Council
New Zealand.

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