SIMPLOT may be cutting back operations at its Bathurst plant to ease running costs, but that has not stopped workers from seeking a pay rise.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has applied for a wage increase of almost 5 per cent for its workers at the four Simplot plants in NSW and Tasmania.
AMWU acting national secretary of the food and confectionery division Tom Hale yesterday confirmed the union had given Simplot a log of claims with a two per cent wage increase, on top of the inflation rate of 2.7 per cent.
The claim comes as the Simplot factory at Bathurst is set to cut 110 jobs, while its Devonport operation in Tasmania is set to cut more than 200 casual jobs.
It was almost immediately rejected by Simplot management.
Mr Hale said meetings were held with members at the Bathurst, Kelso, Ulverstone and Devonport plants.
“We held meetings on all shifts, at all sites and they endorsed passing on the log of claims,” he said.
“They have voted to put in the claim across all the sites.
“We put in a 2 per cent claim above inflation, which was endorsed before Christmas by the members.”
Mr Hale noted that while voting had not been unanimous, there had been overwhelming support for the wage increase.
He added that the wage increase was combined with the inflation rate, to ensure that wages do not go backwards.
“If we don’t take inflation into account, their pay packet buys less than what it did in the previous year,” he said.
“This is not a huge amount, they are just trying to maintain their standard of living.”
Mr Hale said while the union and Simplot management would be sitting down on February 12 to discuss the issues, he expects that Simplot will not accept the wage increase.