In 2013, at the expiration 2010 Teys Beenleigh enterprise agreement, Teys/Cargill embarked on a media propaganda campaign in the name of reforming the meat industry and securing huge workload increases at their Beenleigh plant. Of course it wasn’t as noble as reforming the meat industry it was just simply about them securing fat profits. In other words: pure greed.
For a considerable number of workers the proposed agreement meant a sizable pay decrease and a lot more work each day.
After a long industrial dispute and repeated media threats of the Beenleigh plant having to shut if the agreement was not accepted, Teys/Cargill management managed to get their agreement voted up by the slimmest of margins.
The day after the positive vote it was brought to the attention of the union that trainee supervisors, interpreters and laboratory staff were allowed to vote on the agreement. This was raised with the company. They pressed ahead regardless and took the agreement to the Fair Work Commission for approval.
Deputy President Asbury heard the matter and approved the agreement contrary to the Union’s submissions.
The AMIEU appealed the decision of DP Asbury, to a full bench of the Commission. The appeal full bench determined DP Asbury had made an error of law in generally determining which workers were entitled to vote on an enterprise agreement. The Full Bench is in the process of quashing this decision.
Despite crying poor in the media for a long time, Teys/Cargills have turned up to every hearing with expensive Solicitors and a Senior Counsel bussed up from New South Wales. The AMIEU is wondering whether they asked these high priced legal people to perform more work for less money.
More to the point, are any of the Teys/Cargills board members now performing more work for less money?
Watch this space for further updates.