Category: Food

Silver Fern Farms reduce already inadequate offer after industrial action

Nineteen maintenance workers at Silver Fern Farms Takapau are very disappointed that instead of improving their offer after today’s strike action, the company has made the offer even worse.

Before the workers took industrial action, the company had offered a 1.5% increase as back pay for the nine months prior, followed by 2% increase at the time of settlement.

This low offer came despite the company sending out a memo to staff just two weeks ago that stated that “the Company will post a reasonable profit this year and… that the Takapau plant has a large part to play in achieving that.”

The workers rejected the low offer and voted to take strike action to demand an offer that appropriately recognised their hard and important work.

However, the company has now withdrawn their offer of back pay, apparently demonstrating no desire to give the workers the modest increases they are requesting. The workers have also been suspended for the duration of their industrial action.

E tū organiser Laurel Reid says that the workers are not deterred.

“The 19 maintenance workers were unwavering out on the picket line today, even under a thundery sky, with every intention of continuing to fight for fair recognition of their hard work,” Laurel says.

“The company are playing hardball – that much is clear. But we won’t back down until a fair offer is on the table.”

ENDS

Media are invited to the picket line tomorrow.
For more information or comment: Laurel Reid – 027 591 0024

Silver Fern Farms workers to strike as pay offer “just not good enough”

Nineteen maintenance shift workers at Silver Fern Farms have voted unanimously to strike for three days from 3 January as the company has refused to give them a fair offer in negotiations.

Bargaining has been going on for over a year and the company’s tiny offer has only increased from 1% to 1.5%.

E tū and Silver Fern Farms entered mediation earlier this month, however the company have refused to improve their disappointing offer.

E tū delegate Brendon Illsley says the offer is “just not good enough”.

“We keep the plant running, from plumbing to fixing machines – anything that needs to be done.

“We work long hours and the morning shift starts at 5am. There’s also a lot of overtime at this time of the year.

“We’re not asking for much, but 1.5% is too little – we’re not trying to be greedy.”

E tū organiser Laurel Reid says that it was quite clear from the employer’s response early in the process that there would be problems.

“Silver Fern Farms did not take our claims seriously, from bargaining to the recent mediation,” Laurel says.

“Industrial action is always a last resort, but these workers need a fair deal and peace of mind over the Christmas season.”

ENDS

For more information or comment, please contact:
E tū Organiser Laurel Reid – 027 591 0024

Reality hits home for Cadbury workers

It will be a sad day for Dunedin as 85 permanent, full-time Cadbury confectionary workers end their employment with the company, effective Friday.

The loss of their jobs ends many years of collective contribution to an iconic Dunedin institution, and “there will be tears and sadness, as people realise it’s over,” says E tū delegate and Sub-branch Vice President, Teresa Gooch.

“Many will look back on years of camaraderie and really, the good times of working at Cadbury where workmates have been like family. Cadbury has been good to us. There is a real feeling of loss, so there will be grieving,” she says.

“It’s also hard for those of us who will still be working here – we know we’re next and we’re also feeling for our departing friends.

“Some have found jobs and gone already, but many others are very anxious.”

However, Teresa says people need to stay positive.

“I would urge people to have some faith about where they go from here. A lot of employers are keen to take on the Cadbury workers due to their committed work ethic, reliability and service to the company. These are wanted workers.

“As long as they’re active and positive there’s a good chance they’ll get a job somewhere.”

E tū Industry Coordinator Food, Phil Knight says the union remains concerned over the demise of many good quality jobs, especially in provincial centres like Dunedin.

“These have been good, permanent, full-time jobs and those aren’t always easy to find. We know some people are leaving Dunedin to get into jobs so it’s very disruptive,” he says.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Teresa Gooch E tū delegate and Sub-branch Vice President: ph. 027 231 8119

Phil Knight E tū Industry Coordinator, Food Sector ph. 027 591 0052.

 

 

 

 

E tū bitterly disappointed over demise of Kiwi-made Cadbury

The union, E tū is highly critical of the decision by Mondelez International to move all production of Cadbury products from its Dunedin production plant to Australia.

E tū’s Director of Industries, Neville Donaldson says the decision will be bitterly disappointing for the more than 300 Dunedin workers who will lose their jobs.

“Mondelez has shown no compunction about closing a very profitable factory in Dunedin at the cost of quality, full-time jobs for New Zealand workers,” says Neville.

“There are companies which would have given their right arm to be able to run the Cadbury factory and enjoy the profits it was making when the decision was made to close, he says.

Mondelez had said some local production of iconic kiwi brands might continue if it found a suitable manufacturer, but today said that wasn’t possible.

However, Neville says the union is sceptical about whether Mondelez ever intended to find an alternative local manufacturer.

“We do question whether there was a genuine effort to keep that work here.  What was that exercise really about? Was it about trying to keep 10 percent of that production in New Zealand – or was it really about brand-protection and easing public anger over this closure?

“We had hoped for better, but it’s no surprise things have turned out as they have, given Mondelez’s record overseas,” says Neville.

Neville says New Zealand consumers might now want to consider where they spend their money when it comes to a sweet treat.

“The question is, will they support Mondelez moving its operation overseas at the cost of Kiwi jobs, or should they buy Kiwi-made products and support jobs for Kiwi workers?”

Neville says Dunedin has lost more than 800 full-time, well-paid manufacturing jobs in recent years with the closure of the Hillside Railway workshops, Fisher and Paykel, Sealord and now Cadbury.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Neville Donaldson E tū Director of Industries ph. 027 543 5312