Talley’s Lose Union Access case
Largest Fines Ever Awarded in the Employment Authority.
Christchurch, July 10, 2017:
A company that is part of the Talley’s group has been fined $28,000 for assaulting and unlawfully preventing a Meat
Workers Union organiser from recruiting union members.
South Pacific Meats Ltd, who operate a meat processing plant near Burnham, south of Christchurch, were found to have
breached the Employment Relations Act provisions on union access when they cut short a pre-arranged visit to the site by
NZMWU Canterbury branch organiser Wayne Ruscoe. Mr Ruscoe was assaulted by a staff member to prevent him going into a
smoko room to talk to workers.
SPM also issued a trespass order against Mr Ruscoe two days after the incident in an attempt to prevent further union
An urgent hearing of the Employment Relations Authority has effectively rendered the trespass notice null and void and
South Pacific Meats have been ordered to allow the Meat Workers Union back on site.
There were two fines imposed for two related breaches of the Act, totalling $28,000, which must be paid to the union.
The NZMWU understands they are the heaviest individual penalties ever bought down in the Employment Authority for this
kind of case.
Talley’s SPM has been fined over $150,000 in recent years for more than 20 earlier union access breaches at their meat
processing plants in Canterbury and Southland.
NZMWU National Secretary Graham Cooke said the message was clear. “No employer is above the law and unions have a
statutory right to visit work sites. We will keep doing our job of working for worker’s rights at SPM and in the wider
Talley’s group. Workers know that we are on their side.”