Meat Worker Union members protested outside Talley's Affco Rangiuru yesterday, after the company laid off 214 workers for the season.

The workers were laid off last Wednesday.

About 50 workers were heard chanting and picket signs read: "38 years, call me loyal".

The layoffs came a week after the Employment Relations Authority ordered workers in dispute with the company be reinstated.

Advertisement

They included Rangiuru union shed secretary Roberta "Bertie" Ratu, who said a lot of the workers laid off were union members.

Ms Ratu said the layoffs came about three weeks earlier than usual and meant employees were at least $1800 out of pocket, she said.

Many workers had decades of experience at the plant.

"We were told on Friday, there is no more employment for you, it's seasonal layoff. Guys with 45 years' experience were told they have no work. It was just out of the blue."

Affco general manager Andy Leonard said in a written statement that 214 staff had been seasonally laid off and that only 60 of the workers affected by the decision were union members.

"Affco uses a range of factors for its layoff decisions, including experience, skills, and attendance to ensure it maintains an efficient, balanced workforce in line with its employment agreements."

Te Puke resident Alan Peake, 56, who has been working at the plant just over 39 years, said he found out he had lost his job via a phone call.

"It sucks, it really sucks. I'm gutted, I have a good record. I thought 'bloody hell', I don't mind getting laid off when my time is up with the rest of them but there are people in there who started last week. This is a first for me."

The union says it plans to return to court over the issue.