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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas on the picketline

100 Marton meatworkers look set to spend Christmas on the picketline as their employer refuses to backdown on its attack on these workers living standards. ANZCO CMP, a profitable overseas owned corporation wants a 20% pay cut from these workers and cuts to allowances

The workers have been locked out over 40 days now but are standing strong, bolstered by donations of food and money from unionists and socialists around the country as well as solid community support. The workers are also reaching out to other union members and have been joined on the picket by firefighters, meat workers from around the country and students from Wellington. The locked out union members are holding their headhigh and know that what happens in Marton will have an impact all around the country.

If the working class can get a win here against a greedy multinational then workers will be inspired to fightback all around the country for more pay and against attacks on workers' rights. As locked out worker Steve McGinity said, “We’re not just doing this for our kids, we’re doing it for all meat workers and for all kiwis who are facing attacks on their work rights.”

The CTU is also helping spread the struggle by targeting McDonald's restaurants with pickets and calling for the fast food giant to boycott ANZCO CMP meat. ANZCO are the main supplier of meat patties to McDonalds. Three year-old Tarshay Fiti, whose mother Tasha is locked, out led 100 workers on a march from mediation services down to the local McDonalds in Palmerston North. Children on the picket held signs saying “ANZCO Unhappy Meal”, “ANZCO McLockout” and “McDs can help get my dad back to work.” One of the locked out workers, a solo mother of eight Amanda Chase headed to Britain to talk at the annual conference for Unite, Britain's biggest union.

All this action is important but the key to this dispute will be the ability of workers to shut down the plant like they did in mid-November when a mass picket was organised with supporters from around the country. If this type of action can be sustained like it was in Melbourne at the Baiada chicken factory, workers can win huge gains and get a taste of their power. Workers' power. When workers win a fight it gives them the confidence to provide solidarity and assistance to other workers involved in struggle. Small fights can quickly become big struggles and then a mass workers movement can develop fighting for higher wages and a revolution against poverty now.

You can make a donation to keep these workers and their families fed. The KiwiBank account number is Name: Disputes Fund. Account number: 38-9007-0894028-08 ".

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