Teys Australia met with the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union yesterday over the ongoing industrial dispute at the company’s Beenleigh plant – a meeting described as “respectful and productive” by chief executive officer Brad Teys.
He said that Beenleigh staff had told him they had ‘had a gutful’ of the continued industrial action over a new workplace agreement and want the on-going dispute resolved as soon as possible.
He said the company was considering its approach to the proposed bonus system, following concerns from workers.
“We are listening to our staff and we will consider what they’ve said,” Mr Teys said.
“This is what negotiation is about, and this is the reason we have said all along that the strike action from the union was premature.”
However he said that while the company was working to end the action, the union still did not understand the ‘big-picture’ need for industry reform.
Teys lost a day’s kill at Beenleigh on May 24 after the AMIEU called a four-hour stoppage, which saw the company extend that to a full-day closure, due to the non-viability of processing for half a day.
The AMIEU then called a 24-hour stoppage for the following Friday, May 31.
“The only way we will reach agreement is for the AMIEU to negotiate with an enterprise and productivity focus. They still don’t understand the need for change,” Mr Teys said.
$300 slaughter cost per beast
He said that the cost of production for processing in Australia today was $300 a beast, while in the US, the figure was $150, and in Brazil, $111.
“Almost every person in Australia – including respected former trade union officials like Bill Kelty and Martin Ferguson – recognises that for manufacturing to survive and be competitive on the global market, we can’t keep doing things the way we did them in the seventies,” Mr Teys said
While the company’s aim was to ensure the profitability of the Beenleigh plant and job security for almost 1000 on-site staff, the AMIEU was still obsessed with “industry issues like union access to lunchrooms, site rates and playing union videos at new staff inductions,” he said.
Teys’ Beenleigh plant is an important part of the local Beenleigh community, paying around $40 million dollars in wages each year, much of which is invested locally.
“Our aim is to bring these negotiations to a resolution, for the sake of our company, our staff, their families and the local community,” Mr Teys said.
“It’s now time for the union to work with us and become a part of the solution – not part of the problem.”