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Meat Union - Teys Pay Battle Hots Up

12 March 2014

AUSTRALIA - The Australasian Meat Union has called on meat processor Teys to rerun the ballot over a new pay and working time deal.

The meat union AMIEU recently won an appeal against the approval of Teys Australia/Cargills Beenleigh enterprise bargaining agreement.

Meat union secretary, Brian Crawford said: “Teys Australia/Cargills has an easy way to resolving this dispute over a rigged and manipulated vote: it can put the EBA proposal up again for a vote with a genuine roll of voters that actually will be employed under the agreement.

“It’s what the AMIEU has been asking for since August 2013.

“I predict they will oppose this democratic option at all costs. Despite the corporate propaganda, Teys Australia/Cargills is aware that after six months of working to their new agreement, workers have had enough of it and won’t vote in favour of it again.

“It’s why they compiled a dodgy roll of voters to vote on this EBA last year – they knew they were going to need every vote they could stack in, like trainee supervisors of all things.

Teys last week warned the union and its employees that the improved conditions they have been employed under since October may be lost due to an ongoing “sabotage” campaign by the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU).

The warning by Teys Australia to employees at its Beenleigh plant came after the Fair Work Commission (FWC) threw out an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) following an appeal by the AMIEU.

The decision means the EBA that commenced on 7 October last year and included wage and productivity increases, an initial cash bonus and profit sharing, will go back to the FWC for re-approval – where it will presumably once again be challenged by the union - despite employees voting in favour of the EBA in August.

In a statement issued to employees, Teys said: “The conduct of the AMIEU has, and continues to be, very upsetting to many of our staff because the company and workforce have been working collaboratively and cooperatively under the new agreement for the past six months.”

“The union has fought tooth and nail to sabotage this new EBA in order to retain its power base and relevance, at the expense of our employees and….its own members,” it continued.

Teys General Manager Corporate Affairs Tom Maguire said it was important for employees to know that the AMIEU is wasting members’ money to fight an EBA that “both the company and the majority of employees voted to support.”

The statement said: “Incredibly, if (the union) gets its way and the EBA is dismantled, some 500 employees will immediately have their weekly pay packet reduced by $25 to $30.”

If that wasn’t enough, “a majority of the employees on the site may also actually find themselves in a position where they owe the company as much as $900 each!”

Mr Maguire said the Beenleigh plant had again been thrown into uncertainty, while “the union has robbed 800 workers of job security.”

Union representative Mr Crawford added: “The AMIEU told them the vote wouldn’t hold up, but they knew better. So they pressed ahead belligerently and rolled out their expensive lawyers. If there are any complications as a result of this appeal decision, Teys Australia/Cargills are the sole authors of the situation.

“No-one should feel sorry for ballot riggers when they come unstuck. Now it’s time for them to end the rorts and put the EBA up for a vote again with a proper roll.

“They can put up or shut up. If they don’t want to take the democratic option, then everyone should recognise their corporate spin for what it is – just froth and bubble.”

TheMeatSite News Desk

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