The clash between hundreds of locked-out Affco meat workers and their employer, Talley's, looks set to continue indefinitely with both sides of the argument saying negotiations are barely progressing.

Meanwhile, struggling workers - some in their fourth week on the picket lines - have had a boost with news that meat workers throughout the country are pledging financial support and foodbanks are receiving goods to help them.

But Affco operations manager Rowan Ogg said workers had been issued with a notice warning that further strike action would be dealt with harshly.

Talley's extended its original indefinite lockout of 750 meat workers on February 29 on March 6 to cover 1000 workers at six of its eight North Island Affco plants.

Advertisement

The company said in a recent letter it would "not be comfortable" paying statutory holidays to union members who continue to take strike action, and an automatic lockout notice would be issued over Easter.

Its notice period started on Monday and continues until April 16.

The letter came as the Meat Workers Union yesterday announced a 48-hour strike in solidarity with 1000 locked-out Affco workers from 5am today and hundreds continued their protest action outside plants throughout the North Island.

Mr Ogg said Affco had responded more than a week ago to Meat Workers Union demands and was waiting for its response.

"They will no doubt be giving those consideration and will get back to us," he said.

Asked how negotiations were progressing between the parties Mr Ogg said: "Very slowly".

"If I was asked to put my view to it I don't think there will be a short-term resolution, I think it will be quite protracted," he said.

Dave Eastlake of the Meat Workers Union said moves to penalise striking workers by docking their statutory holiday pay was mean-spirited.

Advertisement

He said it was also an attempt by the company to get workers on to individual contracts.

"They're saying that anyone who strikes within that two-week period then they're going to penalise them by taking that statutory holiday pay off of them.

"We obviously think it's piss poor that they're doing that."

Mr Eastlake agreed talks between the parties were barely progressing and workers were continuing their protest action outside the various plants.

But he said union delegates representing 20,000 meat workers passed a unanimous resolution at a conference in Palmerston North yesterday to financially support locked-out workers.

The Herald understands a resolution was passed for meat workers to give $10 a week towards those who are locked out.

Meat Workers Union spokesman Simon Oosterman said several benefits were available to workers and the union was busy collecting what it could.

But there was no chance of it being able to fully sustain 1000 people without some assistance.

"The truth is these guys are finding it all pretty tough because not all of them are entitled to Work and Income New Zealand support and people are struggling."

"What the company is doing is really pitting the workers against each other because some of them are saying they have no choice but to go back then all that does is create further division in the workplace."