AN agreement between Fletchers International Exports and the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU) has not been met despite more than 300 employees turning up for a mass meeting on Monday.
Abattoir workers at Fletchers have been locked out since Thursday after preparing to stop work for a day-and-a-half to protest against an increase in production time.
Fletchers director Roger Fletcher said he was still negotiating with the union.
“We’re trying to sort it out. It’s as simple as that,” Mr Fletcher said.
AMIEU state industrial organiser Mark Perkins said he was hoping to resolve the issue and get everyone back to work again.
“Above all it is the AMIEU’s ultimate position to get workers back to work as soon as possible,” he said.
“The majority of workers at Fletchers International Exports voted to take protective action stoppages of four hours and eight hours, it was in fact the company’s decision to lock the workers out for a week prior to any industrial action actually being initiated.”
He said the dispute had been going for more than 12 months.
“The initial offer from the company was no wage increase and a roll over of the original enterprise agreement,” Mr Perkins said.
“The second offer from the company was a small percentage increase to the workers’ hourly rate for an extra 30 minutes production time.
“The company proceeded to put the inferior agreement to a vote which was overwhelmingly voted down by the workers.
“There has been seven more votes and each time the workers voted the agreement down.”
Mr Perkins said industrial action was only taken as a last resort to pressure companies into continuing talks.
“Industrial action is in no way influenced by seasonal stock conditions nor anything else of that nature,” he said.
“It is a very complicated process with limiting time frames and unfortunately the only avenue available to workers where negotiations have stalled or ceased.”
Mr Perkins said there had been reports that Fletchers employees were some of the highest paid in Dubbo, but he said the majority of the workers were paid award wages or less.