Assistant secretary of the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union (Newcastle North) Justin Smith in talks with abattoir workers at the Good Intent Hotel.
Assistant secretary of the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union (Newcastle North) Justin Smith in talks with abattoir workers at the Good Intent Hotel. JoJo Newby

Workers plan next move

THE 70 abattoir workers who gathered at the Good Intent Hotel, South Grafton, yesterday were united in their dislike of their boss, Stuart Ramsey, who told them last week their jobs would finish on November 14.

Only a handful of the group were members of the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union, which had called the meeting, but the union's assistant secretary (Newcastle North) Justin Smith was there to offer some basic advice to all who turned up.

Mr Smith said it was common knowledge that union members at the site could be sacked or stifled in their jobs and union reps were "discouraged" from visiting the site.

A number of workers raised concerns that they were told their entitlements would be transferred over to their potential new employer Northern Co-operative Meat Company but further investigations had found this not to be true.

"He can't transfer entitlements - he has to pay you out first," Mr Smith told the group.

Several others asked why they weren't going to be paid redundancy pay.

Mr Smith said the AMIEU would chase redundancy pay for union members but non-members would have to approach Fair Work Australia.

"How can he keep getting away with it?" one worker said. "Why can't they freeze his assets and his racehorses and everything?"



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