14 Nov 2010

Wairoa meatworkers laid off again

8:14 am on 14 November 2010

About 100 workers have been laid off at one of the Affco meat processing company's Hawke's Bay plants.

Workers only returned to the Wairoa plant three weeks ago, after Affco laid off 200 people in June, shutting down its lamb and mutton chain early because production requirements were not being met.

General manager Rowan Ogg says 100 out of 250 workers have been temporarily laid off because less stock has been flowing into the plant, after a wet winter stalled the growth of lambs.

Eric Mischefski of the Meatworkers Union says Affco's shareholders have failed to honour an agreement signed in April.

By laying off staff, he says, the company is trying to lower rates of pay so that when new workers start they will begin on less than current employees.

Both parties are confident that most of the workers will be re-employed when stock numbers pick up.