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Union rep 'wouldn't let' his children work at Talley's amid safety concerns

A meat workers union representative says he wouldn't let his family work at Talley's after a series of 1 NEWS stories highlighted repeated injuries and alleged safety violations at their factories.

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Daryl Carran's comments come after a series of 1 NEWS stories highlighted repeated injuries and alleged safety violations at their factories. Source: Breakfast

Darryl Carran, president of the Otago/Southland branch of the NZ Meat Workers and Related Trades Union, this morning told Breakfast he expects more workers to come forward and encourages them to do so.

However, he added there was a culture of not coming forward to complain and even disincentivising joining a union.

"That's not the culture to complain and usually there are repercussions.

"We also have discriminatory practice to deter people from joining the union where non-union workers are paid more than union workers - this is the only company that does this that I'm aware of."

But there's been workers coming forward to shed light on the working conditions, some saying they've lost fingers, been locked out and lost wages.

Boxes of frozen food on the floor of a Talley's factory. Source: Supplied

When asked if Talley's was a safe company, Carran said: "I certainly wouldn't have any of my children working there, or my grandchildren working in those sites because I get access to them, I'm familiar with them, especially around the South Pacific Meats subsidiaries who are heavily reliant on migrant workers, and obviously have created a reputation for locals to not actually take the opportunities to work there.

"The reality of it is we've been forced in the past to take a private prosecution against this company which was successful and resulted in a guilty verdict because of about nine to 10 amputations 17 years ago."

It comes as the Government's workplace safety watchdog WorkSafe yesterday met with directors of the massive food manufacturing company.

The meeting marked the start of a "top to bottom" review of the company's operations, and those of related companies, including meatworks Afco and Open Country Dairy.

Frozen peas spilled on the floor of a Talley's factory. Source: Supplied

Worksafe has said its review will be focussed on how each company board and executives are "discharging" their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Carran said he hoped it wasn't "window dressing", though, adding that for a full picture workers needed the opportunity and safety to speak.

"Things like posters put on noticeboards, providing contact numbers for workers to ring when they feel concerned about work practices at work," he said.

"I hope on this occasion WorkSafe really dig down deep and provide a safe work environment to interview workers because that's really how they're gonna get a full understanding of what's happening, what the practices are, what the speeds are and what the hours that they're required to work."