Heinz locks out workers indefinitely

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says employees at Heinz baby food factory in Echuca were shocked to discover they had been locked out indefinitely for refusing to attend work team meetings.

Heinz wants to change the current shift pattern, which has been in place for nine years, in the new EBA.

AMWU Regional Secretary of the Food and Confectionary Division, Tom Hale said that they had been in EBA negotiations for five months, but talks had faltered over this contentious issue of work life balance.

“This shift pattern is a way of life for these workers, their family life and recreation is built around it and has been for nine years,” said Mr Hale.

“It’s a lot to ask them to suddenly change their entire lives and not have any flexibility about it.“Our members are upset to have to uproot their way of life when alternatives can be found, and now to be locked out of work for expressing their views seems extreme.

“The reason given by Heinz Baby Foods for the refusal to let workers onto the premises is their refusal to attend team meetings.

“The workers feel strongly about the shift changes because it affects their time with family and friends.

“They expressed this by refusing to attend team meetings, and now Heinz has decided to punish them by locking them out indefinitely.

“We will be talking to the company and to workers on the site to seek a resolution,” said Mr Hale.

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