Public sector meat inspectors and veterinarians are stepping up their industrial action, putting pressure on the Abbott Government to resolve a long-running bargaining dispute.
As reported on Beef Central earlier, Community and Public Sector Union members in export meat processing plants across the country have implemented a series of overtime bans and rolling one-hour work stoppages, three days a week, over proposed cuts to their “rights, conditions and take-home pay.”
Inspectors and vets in processing plants oversee and certify that all produce meets rigorous export and production standards. The work bans and stoppages will result in delays to processing, a Union statement said.
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said meat inspectors and vets were angry at the Abbott Government’s refusal to change its unfair bargaining policy, a policy which forced public service agencies to seek “deep cut to staff rights, conditions and take home pay.”
“Taking protected action which disrupts processing industry is not something our members do lightly. But with the Government moving to cut their rights, conditions and take home pay, they feel like they have don’t any other options,” she said.
“Meat inspectors and vets play a crucial role and ensuring that our meat exports are of the highest quality. The industry, meat inspectors, vets and the union all want this matter resolved, but until the Abbott Government modifies its unworkable and unfair bargaining policy, resolution seems highly unlikely.
Ms Flood said the one-hour work stoppages and overtime bans followed widespread half-day strikes by tens of thousands of members across the public sector in recent weeks including Medicare, Centrelink and tax offices.
“This action is occurring at the same time that Immigration and Border Force, Agriculture, Veterans Affairs and a range of other agencies are distributing one million protest flyers in international airports and other customer contact points highlighting the Abbott Government’s attack on their rights, conditions and take home pay,” Ms Flood said.
“Minister Abetz needs to stop demonising public sector workers and sit down with the union to try and find a sensible way forward which delivers better services for the industry, without cutting the rights, conditions and take home pay of public sector workers.
“Why should these workers be forced to accept agreement which will leave them worse off?” she said.
“The Abbott Government should heed the advice of the industry and changes its bargaining policy so agencies can negotiate fair agreements which aren’t designed solely to cut rights, conditions and take home pay.”