WORKERS at the Beenleigh beef processing plant operated by Teys Australia are again facing uncertainty and pay cuts following a Federal Court decision to rule a 2013 Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, supported by the majority of employees, as invalid.
While 35 jobs created under the new EBA are under direct threat, the majority of the 800 employees at the plant are likely to receive a pay cut as well as the loss of profit share bonuses that saw around 500 employees receive an average bonus of $4500 in 2014.
Teys general manager corporate affairs Tom Maguire said the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union was able to “manipulate the industrial relations process.”
“The Federal Court basically said that the decision by the full bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) was wrong but they are legally entitled to make wrong decisions,” he said.
“This highlights the brokenness of the current IR system.”
Mr Maguire said with higher unemployment figures released yesterday, it was farcical that the current system works against Australian manufacturers and local jobs.
“Our employees worked with us to create a productivity-based way forward, yet the union, which was terrified of losing influence and power, opposed us all the way to the Federal Court.
An independent economic report estimated that the Teys Beenleigh plant with flow-on effects contributes more than $360 million in GDP to the Brisbane region and underpins more than 1800 full time equivalent jobs.
However the plant had returned only 2.8 percent on its $150 million asset base over nine years, decreasing to a one percent return over the four years to 2012.
Mr Maguire said the company competed in a global market, where the local production cost of processing a beast is double that in the US and more than double that in Brazil.
“Australia urgently needs more workplace flexibility and an overhaul of the FWC, to support the relatively few manufacturers that remain in Australia,” he said.
“The Prime Minister in parliament yesterday said ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ was his priority, so how about we get serious and have an IR system that supports jobs.”
Teys Australia said it was considering the long term viability of its Beenleigh plant.
Ah times are moving forward Youve gotta move with change Unfortunately
Nothing has changed. As a kid doing an apprenticeship in a retail butchers shop, I was harassed every month by a union guy who demanded I join the union. As I was an apprentice, I did not have to join the union, however, the day I finished my time, he was there and whilst I said I would not join, he advised me he would black the shop which meant the boss said if I did not join he would have to sack me. Reluctantly I joined, however when I decided to quit butchering, I had great pleasure in telling the union what they could do with their organization. It also made me a non Labor Party person and I have never voted Labor since.
It is about time people understand part of the problem with the loss of jobs in this country is the heavy-handed influence of Unions on the workforce.
It’s hardly fair to blame the AMEIU or the Fair Work Act for this fiasco.
Let’s not forget that Teys sent the agreement out to 21 employees who were not entitled to vote on it. Not the AMIEU or the FWC.
With the final vote being, 351 in favour, 343 against, and 7 informal, those 21 extra votes could have had an influence on the agreement being approved.
While the current system may not be perfect, it does support jobs.
Unfortunately, a poor tradesman will always blame his tools, which seems to be happening here…