The long-running dispute between one of Australia’s largest meat processing companies and the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union looks set to be finalised, following a ruling today by the Fair Work Commission.
The FWC has approved the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement that was passed by Teys employees at a secret ballot in August. The new EBA will commence on October 4.
Teys general manager for corporate affairs, Tom Maguire, called the result a “victory for common sense and a final rejection of obstructionist union tactics.”
He said that all employees would be relieved that the process was finally over.
“Our staff and their families want and deserve stability. This stability has been threatened by the continued actions of the AMIEU which seems to care more about its own power base than the livelihood of workers,” Mr Maguire said.
“It should never have reached the stage of having the FWC rule in the company’s favour. From the outset, only a minority of workers wanted to take industrial action. Then a majority voted to approve the new EBA. Yet the union persisted in dragging this out only to achieve what was agreed in the first place,” he said.
Mr Maguire said employees would be paid at a higher rate under the new agreement including an initial $1000 back-pay and 3pc annual wage increases for the life of the agreement.
“This was never about reducing pay. It was about a sensible agreement that focused on the company and our workforce working together to lift productivity in a globally competitive environment,” Mr Maguire said.
“Manufacturing must reform to remain competitive. The beef processing industry is vital to Australia and we want to ensure the industry is profitable for the long term. This is a prime example of reform required in Australian manufacturing.”
“Everyone in the chain benefits from a competitive beef industry, from primary producers to the consumer,” he said.
In a watershed moment for the Australian meat industry, the new agreement also includes a profit sharing opportunity for employees.
Under the system, when the plant achieves its profit targets, employees will have the opportunity to earn a bonus, based on a percentage of their income.
"We believe for manufacturing to succeed in this country, everybody has to have skin in the game," Mr Maguire said.