21 Mar 2016

Meatworks cleaners win pay dispute

2:26 pm on 21 March 2016

A group of cleaners working for cleaning company Biogene at meat cooperative Silver Fern Farms has won a pay dispute.

After Silver Fern's Dargaville plant contracted out its cleaning roles, first to ISS Facilities Services Limited, then to Biogene Limited in September 2014, the cleaners were told they were no longer covered by the collective agreement.

This meant losing certain working rights and a drop in pay.

The group of cleaners took the case to the Employment Relations Authority, and won.

The authority ordered Biogene to make up for any shortfalls in wages and holiday pay.

New Zealand Meat Workers and Related Trades Union campaign director Darien Fenton said the ruling protected some of the industry's most vulnerable workers.

"It's an important reminder that in the meat industry there's people that do important jobs like cleaning.

"And we have to preserve not only their conditions and pay but also the standard we expect in the meat industry," Ms Fenton said.

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