Unlawful union tactics land Talley’s with six-figure fine

The major corporation must shell out a significant sum of money after repeatedly breaching union access rights.

A major Kiwi corporation has been hit with a six-figure fine after it was found to have breached union access rights on numerous occasions.

The Talley’s-owned South Pacific Meats (SPM) has been ordered to pay $144,000 in penalties to the NZ Meat Workers Union after the Employment Authority uncovered widespread wrongdoing.

The authority found that SPM acted unlawfully in attempting to restrict access requests at a number of their locations, including Awarua, Invercargill and Christchurch. The organization did so by requiring a plant manager to supervise the visits of union officials.

“The union is heartened by this decision.  We have repeatedly sought to access rights to talk to workers as guaranteed by law, and we have repeatedly been frustrated by the Talley’s owned companies across the board” says Darien Fenton, NZMWU organising director.

“This is the third decision in relation to SPM’s unlawful behaviour relating to access. On each occasion their actions have been found to be unlawful,” he added.

The Employment Authority also found that SPM had implemented and unlawful pre-condition on bargaining, by requiring the union to identify union members before any negotiations could begin.

As a result, the authority issued a compliance order requiring SPM to terminate the practice of unlawfully restricting access and awarded penalties in respect of each breach – bringing the total penalty to $144,000, all of which was directed to the union.

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