WHAT NEXT: Federal Member for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon, AMIEU representatives Warren Earle and Matt Journeaux and Member for Blair Shayne Neumann discuss the future of JBS workers.
WHAT NEXT: Federal Member for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon, AMIEU representatives Warren Earle and Matt Journeaux and Member for Blair Shayne Neumann discuss the future of JBS workers. David Nielsen

JBS workers have a win

EMBATTLED workers at JBS Dinmore received a boost when the company agreed to reduce kill quotas in the face of reduced cattle availability.

With more cattle on the market, thanks to north Queensland producers enjoying prime growing conditions, JBS agreed to the lower totals in a bid to keep the plant operating nearer to capacity.

Warren Earle, one of the workers' representatives, said staff are now working full shifts, with the reduced quotas allowing available cattle to be spread across four work days.

"Providing there is no more rain in north Queensland, we are getting full shifts," Mr Earles said.

With more than 500 workers leaving JBS since the shift cuts began, Mr Earle said the company was concerned at the loss of skilled staff.

"They are now using labour hire to top up the shifts when they are short."

Despite the positives, Mr Earle said staff were still disappointed JBS will not reinstate the Christmas public holidays.

"The move to the four day Tuesday to Friday roster means workers have lost the three public holidays at Christmas, and we are continuing to push for those days to be given back to the workers."

Matt Journeaux of the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union said while the expired Enterprise Agreement remained a goal, the union was focused on the current work situation.

"We are not pushing the EA negotiation right now, we are more focused on the continuity of work for our members.," Mr Journeaux said.

"But negotiations could progress in more good faith."

Mr Earle said workers at the plant had 'hurt the most' in the last 12 months, due to droughts and the subsequent work cuts, and JBS needed to recognise this.

"We are trying to get the best possible result for our workers, I am hoping that between now and Christmas, we will get a better outcome."