Chicken is back on the menu after workers at Australia’s largest poultry producer declared victory in a pay dispute that threatened to disrupt the nation’s chook supply.
Workers at processing plants at Bolivar in SA and Osborne Park in WA brought strike action to a close after reaching an in-principle agreement with employer Inghams.
More than 1000 members of the United Workers Union (UWU) and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union initially rejected a three-year deal which would have resulted in a 3.9 per cent pay rise in the first year and 3.5 per cent in subsequent years.
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But management’s improved offer of a 5.12 per cent increase in the first year and four per cent increases in the two years after that went down a lot better with staff.
Inghams also committed to changing labour hire practices, improved breaks and an audit of senior management behaviour.
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UWU national secretary Tim Kennedy said the deal would provide some of Australia’s hardest workers with a well-deserved $100 extra per week.
“The workers that kept Australia fed during COVID took a pretty admirable stance just over a week ago and because they stuck together, they’re now going to have a nice little bonus ahead of Christmas holidays,” Kennedy said.
Analysts had raised concerns on Friday that the strike could spell a shortage of chicken and potential price rises ahead of footy finals season.
Inghams has settled a pay dispute that threatened to disrupt the nation’s chook supply. Credit: AAP
Inghams supplies about 40 per cent of Australia’s chicken and counts popular brands McDonald’s, KFC and Woolworths among its customers.
“I feel like I am in a pretty good position to tell grand final watchers across the country that hot and crispy KFC and chicken parmi is back on the menu,” Kennedy said on Wednesday.
Relations between the parties appeared to have soured in the days leading up to the breakthrough.
The UWU on Monday posted a video to X, formerly Twitter, accusing Inghams of placing tubs of rotting chicken guts next to where striking workers were congregating in an attempt to stink them out.
“This is typical of the disrespectful way that Inghams treats their employees and it’s only making workers even angrier,” the post said.
Inghams has been contacted for comment.
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