With grocery bills rising, medical costs climbing, and power bills spiraling out of control, Tamworth meat workers at the Teys Cargill plant are wondering how they’re going to make ends meet.
These workers have already been tightening their belts for more than a year, with the bosses at Teys Cargill refusing to pass on their profits.
Who is Teys Cargill?
Teys Cargill is a 50% joint venture between the wealthy Teys family in Australia, and the USA food giant Cargill. Their meat processing plants supply beef to Woolworths stores across Australia.
The Teys family are so wealthy that in 2015 they tried – and failed – to be excused from revealing their finances as part of the ATO’s tax transparency report, on the grounds that their immense wealth meant they could be targeted for kidnapping.
Perhaps there’s another reason they didn’t want to have their finances exposed. It turns out that according to the ATO, in the 2015-16 financial year Teys enjoyed an income of $2.4 billion while managing to pay zero dollars in tax.
Meanwhile, Cargill enjoys a revenue of more than $100 billion each year, and is the largest privately held corporation in the United States.
Not good enough
The AMIEU has been visiting Tamworth regularly to help struggling workers in the area. Teys Cargill workers told us that they couldn’t believe it when the company sent home a letter last October saying “the business is in good shape, with no debt” – but that there was no room to give a pay rise.
Teys Cargill workers were so outraged by this that they decided to join the AMIEU, and put their name on a Majority Support Determination Petition. An incredible 290 workers from Teys Cargill’s 400-strong workforce signed this petition, saying that no wage rise simply wasn’t good enough and that they wanted to sit down to bargain for better.
Despite this overwhelming show of support, Teys Cargill fought the petition at the Fair Work Commission, disputing every single signature and dragging out the process as long as they could.
When it became clear that Teys Cargill could not stop the workers putting their names on this petition, they somehow managed to find the money for a 1.25% pay rise – less than the increase in the cost of living.
Workers standing strong
Now, after seven months of kicking and squealing, Teys Cargill has been ordered by the Fair Work Commission to sit down and speak to its workers union about what they want.
The Teys Cargill workers at Tamworth have shown great courage and dedication speaking out against their employer. They know that their bills won’t wait any longer. Now, Teys Cargill must come clean.
If there’s no money for a pay rise, how is it that the Teys family are all multi-millionaires with large property portfolios? If times are so tough, why did senior Teys management staff receive huge bonuses last year?
Why are Teys workers paying more tax than their own company is?
These are all questions that Teys Cargill must answer as they are finally forced to sit down at the bargaining table with their workforce.
AMIEU Newcastle & Northern NSW
PH: (02) 4929 5496