In September 2013, Deputy President Asbury approved the sub-standard 2013 Agreement. Teys/Cargill embarked on a media propaganda campaign at the time, allegedly in the name of “reforming” the meat industry. The “reform” of course was about securing huge workload increases at their Beenleigh plant. It wasn’t really as noble as reforming the meat industry, it was just simply about them securing fat profits. In other words: pure greed.
The Union successfully appealed the approval decision to a Full Bench of Fair Work Commission. Teys then applied to the Federal Court to judicially review the Full Bench’s decision.
Yesterday, the Full Federal Court (3 Judges) dismissed their application. More importantly, the Full Court partly upheld the AMIEU’s application and ruled that the 2010 agreement was not cancelled by the wrongful approval of the 2013 Agreement.
Teys/Cargills can possibly seek special leave from the High Court of Australia to appeal from the Federal Court decisions yesterday. In April 2014, Deputy President Asbury approved the 2013 Agreement for a second time. Once again, the Union successfully appealed this decision to a Full Bench of Fair Work Commission. Once again, Teys/Cargills have sought to have this appeal decision judicially reviewed in the Federal Court. So whilst these matters aren’t yet finalised, you can safely say the following:
- The 2010 Agreement has always applied up to at least 17 April 2014. If Teys/Cargills current Federal Court application concerning the second appeal decision is unsuccessful, it will continue to apply after this date.
- Teys/Cargills have paid out extraordinary amounts of money to lawyers to keep challenging these decisions. They should come clean on how much they’ve spent.
- Any work practice or payment that has been going on that is inconsistent with the 2010 Agreement needs to be rectified by Teys/Cargills immediately, at least up until 17 April 2014 at this stage.
- Finally- why is it that Teys Australia/Cargills can fund these lawyers on an appeal-a-thon, get told on every occasion that their agreement isn’t valid, yet keep on stubbornly appealing everything? When will they end the denial and finally sit down to negotiate a fair and decent agreement for their Beenleigh employees?