In a decision that processor Teys Australia described as “extremely disappointing”, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union and employee representatives today refused to allow a new wages and bonus offer to be put to a secret ballot of its members.
The refusal of the company’s final offer has forced Teys to end negotiations over a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement at the company’s Beenleigh plant and a company statement issued this evening said it would now “explore its options.”
Teys general manager corporate affairs Tom Maguire said it was a lost opportunity for much-needed industry reform.
“We’ve made no secret of the fact that, like all areas of manufacturing, our industry needs to change the way we operate in order to remain competitive,” he said.
He said that the company had listened to both staff and the Fair Work Commission and had been flexible and accommodating.
“Our staff told us they were uncomfortable with performance bonuses, so we removed this from the offer and replaced it with a three percent wage increase. We even offered all employees a cash bonus to make up for lost time due to the recent industrial action,” he said.
Mr Maguire said the workplace model of the past no longer worked in a globally competitive environment.
“We need a workplace culture where the company and workers share the same goals and vision. Job security is a result of a profitable company.”
He said that the Teys Beenleigh plant had operated on a one percent return on its asset base over the past four years, “a lesser return than a bank interest rate on a savings account”.
"If we don't change course, the Beenleigh plant faces a real threat of closure."
He said the company was committed to the industry and to its staff, “but we must reform or there will be a dramatic effect on rural and regional employment and Australia's export earnings.”