The Meat Workers Union says meat company AFFCO has given notice of an indefinite lockout at five of its plants.
Union secretary Dave Eastlake says the company is trying to starve workers into accepting major changes to its collective employment agreement, giving the company total flexibility in its terms of employment.
He says members will be shocked that the company, now wholly owned by the Talley family, has taken such cruel and unnecessary action to get what it wants.
Mr Eastlake says the demands of the company are similar to the demands made of workers by Ports of Auckland.
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The lockout will be discussed by meat workers at meetings this coming week, and he says members will call on the Talley family to return to the bargaining table.