Abattoirs workers to vote on agreement

WINGHAM Beef Exports' Employees will have the opportunity to vote in a secret ballot to either agree to, or refuse, an updated enterprise agreement put forward by management.

The updated agreement follows weeks of negotiations and two strikes by employees and union representatives who were demanding a pay increase of 13 per cent across three years for their lowest paid staff and a 9.5 per cent increase for the higher paid staff.

Following the outcomes of negotiations, wage rates in the latest offer have increased without any corresponding productivity or cost offsets.

WBE has assured though, that this is their final position and will be the company's closing offer.

The updated enterprise agreement has been extended to four years and would see labourers' pay increased by 4 per cent in the first year, 3.5 per cent in the second and three per cent each of the last two years, while pieceworkers would receive a 3.25 per cent increase in the first year, followed by three per cent for each of the additional years.

Over the full term of the agreement, wage rates for Labourers will increase by 13.5 per cent and Pieceworkers by 12.25 per cent well above projected inflation targets.

This means, by year four an A5 grade labourer can expect to earn about $100 gross per week more and a boner about $150.

In a statement released by Wingham Beef Exports on Wednesday, the company said it hoped the matter would be settled.

"The company hopes that a majority 'yes 'vote is achieved next week so it can then pass on wage increases to workers and put an end the current unrest."