Teys Australia chief executive Brad Teys has expressed disappointment over today’s 24 hour strike by the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union, which comes during negotiations for a new workplace agreement at the company’s Beenleigh (Qld) plant .
Mr Teys said union claims earlier this week that workers are being offered less pay was a smokescreen, as nothing had been finalised.
“All of our staff are paid – and will continue to be paid – above award rates. What we can no longer sustain are outdated and unrealistic employment terms that make us uncompetitive,” he said in a prepared statement.
These terms include 50 percent leave loading, penalty rates within ordinary hours, forced payment for idle time and increased workers compensation benefits above that prescribed by legislation.
“Teys’ workers are even mandated an extra ‘Butcher’s Picnic’ public holiday, which is never actually observed but requires penalty rates to be paid,” Mr Teys said.
“The AMIEU seems determined to remain in the 1970s, refusing to acknowledge the reality that unless things change there will be no jobs,” he said.
“Australians understand that the workplace model of decades ago where unions told employers what they could and couldn’t do, and what they would and wouldn’t pay, is gone.”
Mr Teys said he was baffled by the union’s claim that the plant’s profit over nine years of $38 million meant that the company could afford to bow to the union’s demands.
“This equals an average annual profit of $4.2 million on a $150 million asset base. That’s a 2.8pc return, decreasing to a 1pc return over the past four years.”
He pointed out that a bank would have provided a 4pc return with nil risk – even at record low interest rates.
“Does the union want us to lose money? It’s weird logic. If we are not making a profit there will be no jobs and who wins then?” he asked.
Mr Teys said the forward view was one of drought, more hard times for producers and distorted markets.
“We must change the way we operate. We must reform or there will be no beef processing industry. We call on the union to stop the power games, put their members’ interests first and get back to the negotiating table.”
- Read Beef Central's earlier report on the Beenleigh EB dispute, including comments from the company and AMIEU here.