New Zealand’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has reportedly thrown out claims from meat giant Affco that the local trade union representing its workers in a contract dispute has lodged fraudulent accounts.

The agency is understood to have said today (12 April) it would not be investigating the complaint lodged by Affco, which is in a stand-off with the union and hundreds of its workers.

Affco reportedly accused the New Zealand Meat Workers Union of lodging fraudulent accounts. According to local reports, SFO chief executive Adam Feeley said an “immediate evaluation” of information provided to its investigators did not show any evidence of fraud.

However, Affco reportedly still wants answers about the financial affairs of the Meat Workers Union and claims the union is “not in compliance with its statutory reporting requirements”.

The claim came as the two groups prepared to enter a fresh round of mediation. In separate reports today, mediation between Affco and the union was said to have failed.

Affco and the union are locked in a dispute which began during standard contract negotiations in February. The company has locked out nearly 1,000 union members at a number of plants and a further 480 workers were locked out during Easter after joining the strikes.

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By GlobalData

Workers will now go ahead with a five-day strike tomorrow, the longest since workers were first locked out in February. A rally will also take place in Moerewa tomorrow.