Workers at billion dollar poultry producer, Inghams, have begun strike action at factories in South Australia and Western Australia following the company’s refusal to offer a fair wage increase.
At 12:01am this morning United Workers Union (UWU) members began a 24 hour stoppage at Inghams Bolivar, SA and Osborne Park, WA sites.
UWU has been bargaining with Inghams since the beginning of the year but the company has refused to offer workers a $1.50-an-hour pay rise, insisting it cannot afford an increase in-keeping with inflation.
In the meantime Inghams chief executive Andrew Reeves was granted a 9 percent pay rise on his salary this year taking his base salary to $1.2 million per annum.
UWU National Secretary Tim Kennedy said Inghams had been granted ample opportunity to fix the dispute but had instead opted for issuing threats to workers and filing spurious claims in the Fair Work Commission to prevent legally-sanctioned action.
“Workers never take strike action lightly and there hasn’t been a strike in the poultry industry in many years, but members have had enough of being treated with contempt,” Mr Kennedy said.
“We know that Inghams is an extremely profitable company and that those profits have more than doubled in recent times, so why is it that the workers who show up to do a difficult job are asked to cop paltry wages?
“An extra $1.50-per-hour will barely even register on Inghams’ bottom line and workers won’t be running out buying yachts or enjoying champagne dinners as a result but they might just be able to keep up with increased housing costs without falling below the poverty line.”
Inghams supplies all major supermarkets and fast food giants such as McDonalds and KFC. The strike is likely to have significant impacts on chicken supply chains to these retailers.
UWU has notified the company of further strike action and workers are resolved in fighting for an improved wage offer.
UWU Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]