23 Apr 2012

Meat Workers Union files injunction over lockout

10:18 pm on 23 April 2012

The union representing nearly 1000 locked-out meat workers has filed an application for a court injunction to try and get workers back to processing plants while court hearings and mediation continue.

Unionised meat workers from eight AFFCO plants have been locked out since March this year after the breakdown of contract negotiations late last year.

AFFCO and the Meat Workers Union were due to meet in Auckland's Employment Court on Monday to discuss the legality of the lockout.

However, Judge Colgan said the two days scheduled was not long enough and five days was needed to consider the case, which he said involves a significant amount of controversial evidence.

The judge said the union could file for an interim injunction to prohibit the lockouts until a hearing can occur.

The union filed an application for this on Monday afternoon. While no date has been set yet, the injunction hearing is expected to take place later this week.

AFFCO director of operations Rowan Ogg believes the Employment Court case could have continued and the company is disappointed the hearing is delayed.

The company postponed last week's mediation because it wanted more time to work on its brief for the hearing.

Mr Ogg said AFFCO intends to resume mediation talks with the union on 2 May.