After four months of negotiations with Baiada chickens, 100% of voting NUW members at the poultry processing facility voted to take protected industrial action to defend permanent and secure jobs on site.
The company wants to take away any form of meaningful protections in terms of minimum site rates, and conversion to permanent employment. Reports say some workers are getting paid as little as $10 an hour, cash in hand. Baiada’s indirect employment model has lead to two deaths in six years, one on a farm and one in the Laverton processing facility. Baiada was considered culpable for the earlier incident and fined by Work Safe. The Union is waiting for the later incident of decapitation at the Laverton site to go to trial.
Baiada Poultry is Australia’s leading poultry company and controls approximately 35% of the market and had a revenue in 09/10 totaling $1,195 million, which will have significantly increased in 2011 after the company completed a significant takeover of a major competitor Bartter.
Baiada is the primary poultry provider for Coles supermarkets. Baiada’s other major customers include, Woolworths, Aldi, Nandos, KFC and Red Rooster.
After Fair Work Australia ordered the National Union of Workers not to be involved in the picket line at the Laverton factory, community supporters took over. Catherine Zengerer speaks with Emma Kerin live from the picket line, for an update on the dispute.[audio https://czengerer.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/baiada-update-emma-kerin.mp3]
This interview first appeared on Your Rights at Night