Tamworth is in the grip of a youth unemployment crisis, with figures showing that teenagers and young adults in the area are unemployed at a rate double the national average.
The AMIEU has been heavily campaigning for major meat processors in the area to give local kids a chance, offering them preference of employment as a way of helping to ease this crisis and build a long-term sustainable future for the region.
During our recent visit to Tamworth, just by spending a few hours on the streets, we were able to collect signatures from more than 100 local youth who were struggling to find employment.
These kids all told us the same thing – they wanted to work, they were ready to work, but companies prefer to employ backpackers and other temporary migrant workers, rather than helping local kids.
Companies like Thomas Foods, whose Tamworth operation is more than 80% temporary migrant workers, has been one of the worst offenders when it comes to leaving local kids out in the cold. In fact Thomas Foods boss David McKay told News Corp. in 2015 that he thought Australians “lacked the work ethic” required for his factories.
Fortunately, not all companies are as heartless as Thomas Foods.
Baiada Poultry Chief Executive Officer, Simon Camilleri, has this week expressed interest in giving these local kids an induction into their meat processing operations in Tamworth, following contact by the AMIEU.
The AMIEU will be speaking to the more than 100 youth who signed our petition and providing them with the direct contact details for Baiada’s Tamworth operations.
We are delighted to see Baiada offering to work constructively to help solve this urgent crisis and are deeply disappointed that other companies like Thomas Foods continue to turn to temporary migrant labour, just this month bringing in an additional 100 visa workers into Tamworth.
We congratulate Baiada on taking this initiative and will be working closely with them to transition as many of these youth as possible into stable, long-term employment.
The AMIEU has contacted Tamworth Mayor Col Murray to seek his support for constructive solutions to end youth unemployment in the area, and is awaiting his response.
AMIEU Newcastle & Northern NSW
PH: (02) 4929 5496