Industrial Action Secures Pay Rises For Beef Workers Across Northern NSW

Union members at beef processing sites across northern NSW went on multiple strikes across 2013 and 2014, standing together to achieve fantastic pay outcomes in difficult conditions.

The actions were led by members at Primo Scone (now JBS Scone), where 150 members stood up and demanded better pay follow protracted negotiations with site owners who refused to budge on poor pay and conditions.

After two days of striking, the company agreed to AMIEU member demands. Workers received a 4% increase in the first year and 3% each year after, plus another $20 weekly attendance bonus.

Bindaree Beef workers followed suit, with 130 members and their family rallying in February 2014 in Inverell. This action secured the first annual increase on ordinary time over tallies since 1998, as well as 25% on overtime over tallies for boners, slicers and slaughterers.

Workers also secured increases in long service leave entitlements, as well as the return of the right to choose whether or not to work on public holidays like ANZAC Day. This right would be tested in 2016 when the company tried to force their employees to work on ANZAC Day — and were forced into a humiliating backdown.

The third site to take action was Wingham Beef Exports, where members engaged in rolling industrial action including 24 hour stoppages, unlimited overtime bans, and random two-hour wildcat stoppages. These stoppages were undertaken by all members in pursuit of fair pay for the lowest paid among them — a great example of how union members stand up for each other and protect everyone.

As a result of the pressure placed on the company by this action, Wingham Beef agreed to an unprecedented 4% pay rise for these low-pay workers. This was a huge boost for low-paid labourers who are now taking home a substantial extra pay packet each week thanks to the power of union solidarity.

Beef workers across northern NSW know that AMIEU membership delivers results, because working people standing together delivers results. Join the AMIEU today and start the journey towards a better pay packet for you and your mates.

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