4 May 2012

Maori threaten AFFCO boycott unless dispute resolved

9:19 pm on 4 May 2012

Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau says Maori farmers and landowners will consider a boycott of AFFCO meatworks if owner Talleys persist in what he describes as blatant anti-union tactics.

Talleys has locked out more than 700 of its 1300 staff indefinitely at plants around the North Island as a two-month old dispute continues over a collective contract.

Mr Tau says the company's action is causing hardship for Maori families from Moerewa to Feilding.

He says as chairman of one of Northland's largest Maori land blocks, which supplies AFFCO with 45,000 head of stock a year, he is in a position to recommend withholding animals until Talleys agree to sit down and talk.

Mr Tau says other iwi are also discussing that option.

AFFCO not approached

A senior manager at Talleys subsidiary AFFCO says he would be quite happy to meet Sonny Tau but says no approach has been made by the Ngapuhi leader to the company.

Rowan Ogg says he has already had talks with Northland kaumatua before and told them the company's position.

Mr Ogg adds he would be worried if there were any withholding of stock, as raised by Mr Tau, and would be happy to explain the circumstances the company faces to any suppliers considering doing this.