Director and head of corporate and regulatory John Berry inside the hide plant at the JBS.
Director and head of corporate and regulatory John Berry inside the hide plant at the JBS.

Lockout at meatworks

A SERIES of stoppages by workers at JBS Australia's Dinmore meatworks will be answered with a total closure of the plant on Friday.

Management announced the one-day closure yesterday, claiming a four-hour strike planned for Friday had left them with no alternative.

The meatworks, which is the largest private company in Ipswich, employs almost 2000 people. Those due to work on Friday will not be paid.

Members of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU) began an overtime ban at the plant in May as part of their fight for a 4% annual pay rise to be included in a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

The industrial action was stepped up earlier this month with a number of two-hour stoppages at Dinmore.

Last Thursday and Friday four-hour strikes occurred. A further stoppage is planned tomorrow, but JBS Australia director and manager of corporate and regulatory affairs John Berry said Friday's action would be met with a shutdown of the plant.

"Unfortunately, the industrial action was extended to four hours on Thursday, June 21, for the night shift and on Friday for the day shift," Mr Berry said.

"We will stop operations completely this Friday because a four-hour stoppage causes animal welfare issues and food safety issues and the viability of the whole shift is affected."

Mr Berry said he did not want to speculate about the impact of ongoing stoppages on shifts.

He said JBS would continue to attend meetings with AMIEU delegates and representatives.

"We've put the 3% offer on the table, but anything more than that is not commercially viable in terms of the long-term operation of the Dinmore meatworks," Mr Berry said. "We constantly discuss these issues with the on-site delegate and the union."

AMIEU state secretary Brian Crawford said he had not been informed of the lockout until contacted by The Queensland Times.

"As far as I'm aware the lockout has only been presented as a possibility, but it won't affect future stoppages," he said.

He said the major issues in the dispute had not changed since the overtime ban began in May.

"The issues continue to be a 4% pay increase, improved employment continuity, guaranteed "no disadvantage" in respect of public holidays due to flexible rostering and payment of reasonable penalty rates (30%) when working additional days," Mr Crawford said.

Mr Crawford said "the overwhelming majority of (AMIEU) members are very firm in their claim for a reasonable wage increase, along with the other claims being sought."



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