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Members approve Simplot deal

Members at Simplot in Tasmania and NSW have endorsed a new enterprise agreement which secures their conditions and maintains a single agreement across all company sites.

Members at Simplot in Tasmania and NSW have endorsed a new enterprise agreement which secures their conditions and maintains a single agreement across all company sites.

The deal reached after members took protected industrial action in spring 2014 helps alleviate cost of living pressures while giving them and the company the certainty to ensure Simplot remains operating in Australia.

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It comes after AMWU members defeated Simplot management's agenda of forcing each of its sites into separate agreements and depriving workers at the large Devonport and Bathurst sites wage rises in the first year of the agreement.
The EBA was voted up in January with an overall majority of 70 per cent across sites at Bathurst and Kelso in NSW and the Devonport, Ulverstone and Harvester sites in Tasmania.
AMWU National Secretary (Food) Tom Hale said members had held their nerve and stayed united to reach agreement after difficult circumstances over 2014, including media attacks by the company's CEO Terry O'Brien and some Coalition politicians who blatantly exaggerated what they earned.
"Our substantial conditions have been retained, our dispute handling procedures remain intact seasonal workers retain their maximum and minimum hours and we have a wage rise which doesn't discriminate between the sites," he said.
The agreement delivers a wage rise of six per cent across its three years from December 1, 2014 but also tops that with an extra 2.5 per cent sign-on payment covering the period back to the previous agreement's expiry in March 2014.
Tasmanian President Shane Littler said that for Tasmanian workers the top priority had been retaining conditions, including income protection and provisions for seasonal workers.
He said the agreement compelled Simplot management to fully consult with the AMWU over proposed changes, including rosters, and warned that the union would be vigilant in enforcing members' rights.
"Members can be proud they took industrial action to retain what the company wanted to take away, they successfully supported their comrades," he said.
NSW State Secretary Tim Ayres briefed Kelso and Bathurst workers on the deal late last year and said the agreement "strikes the right balance" for those sites.
"On one hand it gives Simplot the flexibility to deliver volume, particularly with the seasonal constraints it faces, but also makes sure it's a good place to work," he said.
The company has secured long terms contracts with the major supermarket chains to supply frozen and canned vegetables.
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