According to the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, some negotiations caused a delay on a collective agreement with the management.
Now, the union members working for the Simplot plants both in Tasmania (Devonport and Ulverstone) and New South Wales (Kelso and Bathurst) are making a vote on the possible plan of action. However, managing director for Simplot Terry O’Brien claims that the union’s push for a four percent annual salary increase could put an end to company operations in Australia.
Wage increases of two percent in year two and three were offered by Simplot to the workers of the vegetable plants at Bathurst and Devonport, and the other two plants have been offered 2 percent each year for three years.
“Traditionally we’ve been paying around the 4 per cent per year.. at that rate, we believe that we would need to follow our competitors who have all gone offshore.” said O’Brien
Tim Ayres, secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says that the workers want an increase in wages to maintain their current conditions.
“This is going to be a very tough industrial battle in Bathurst, a place where people should really be working together to secure the future of food manufacturing.” said Ayres.
Ayres plans to meet with the workers at the plant to create plans and work towards solutions.
Last year, over 100 workers were fired at Bathurst, while corn suppliers took a cut to keep the factories running.
The Australian Electoral Commission’s vote on possible industrial action against Simplot will be announced on September 12, Friday.