Workers at Australian poultry major Inghams are planning a one-day walkout on Friday (22 September).
The United Workers Union (UWU), which represents employees at the company, said it has informed Inghams about the action, which is linked to a dispute over pay.
The union said it has been in pay discussions with Inghams – the largest poultry company across Australia and New Zealand – since the start of the year but has failed to reach an agreement.
In a social media post, the union said: “More than 1,000 workers at our largest poultry producer, Inghams, will strike this Friday to win a fair pay rise. Despite Inghams soaring profits, many are only earning around A$25 ($16.24) an hour.”
The Australian newspaper reported that the union is seeking an 18% pay rise – split into three annual 6% increases over a three-year agreement – for workers and quoted UWU national secretary Tim Kennedy as saying that it could take further industrial action after Friday if the dispute is not resolved.
The union believes workers should benefit from increased profits the company has seen as the result of price increases.
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In August, Inghams reported the results for its 2023 financial year. These included a 12.2% year-on-year increase in revenues to A$3.04bn and an underlying EBITDA hike of 35.8% to A$183.6m.
CEO Andrew Reeves said at the time: “During the course of FY23 we productively engaged with our customers to implement price increases across all channels. The price increases were necessitated by the significant increase in feed costs, and growth in other key input costs, with market demand for poultry that continues to outpace supply.”
Asked about this week’s strike by news agency Reuters, an Inghams spokesperson said discussions were continuing and declined to make any further comment.
Just Food also contacted Inghams seeking comment.
A spokesperson replied: “Inghams has been working in good faith with our people and their representatives in recent months to finalise a new enterprise agreement. We are working closely with our customers and do not anticipate any interruption to supply during this time.”
Inghams has a portfolio of products which includes fresh and frozen chicken and turkey lines. It supplies major Australian grocers including Woolworths and Coles and fast-food chains including McDonald’s, KFC and Subway.