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Union Rules


When resigning from your employment:


Remember, when terminating your employment you will need to advise the Union of your movements (i.e. either leaving the industry totally or transferring to another employer). This information is not automatically provided to the union by your employer so it is imperative that you advise the Union as soon as possible.

If the union has not been made aware in writing that you wish to cease your payments by direct debit then overpaid union fees will not be refunded.



Legal Assistance



McLean McKenzie and Topfer have branches in Burnie,  Smithton and visit Launceston and Hobart regularly.  Union members can receive assistance from McLean McKenzie and Topfer with any legal matter, whether associated with work or personal.  Give us a ring on 6331 7233 for further help.


McLean McKenzie and Topfer

41 Cattley St, Burnie

33 Smith St, Smithton

Staffordshire House, L'ton

Ph:  6430 1509


Income Protection Plan


Employee Accident and Sickness Programme for Union Members

Protect your family

Statistics show that more than 1 in 3 employees will suffer an injury or illness that incapacitates them for a period of more than 3 months.

Can you afford not to be covered?

For the cost of around 3% of your gross wage your income will be protected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, worldwide for up to 104 weeks and it's tax deductible.

Find out more .....


Is Your Super Lost?


Is Your Super Lost?


One in three working Australians have lost super.  Find your super for free using AUSfund.  AUSfund, Australia's Unclaimed Super Fund allows members to claim super that may exist in different accounts over one's working life.


The role of AUSfund is to return small and lost superannuation accounts to members' active superannuation accounts.


AUSfund regularly works with some of the largest super funds in Australia to return lost super to members.  If they find a match, your unclaimed super money is sent from AUSfund to your active super fund.


Find out if you have any unclaimed super by logging on to or calling 1300 361 798.


Financial Advice


Financial Advice

Is it time you had a financial health check?


At a time when family debt are at record highs, interest rate rises and life style changes it is no wonder many Australians struggle to plan to live a comfortable life now and into retirement.


ACTU Member Connect has put together a directory of financial planners who have passed a rigorous due diligence process.  They can assist with:


  • Budgeting
  • Debt Reduction
  • Retirement
  • Wealth Creation
  • Social Security
  • Superannuation
  • Retrenchment


The first consultation is free for union members


To obtain an ACTU Financial Adviser Directory call 1300 362 223 or go to




The Eureka Stockade:

a Chronology

find out more ...........


1967 Compensation Advice


Taken from the Meat Union Journal of Tasmania May, 1967

Compensation Advice


Report all accidents to your employer, no matter how trivial, without waste of time.

Don't take time off work on sick pay because of the higher rate of pay.

Don't sign any documents which might release your employer from responsibility.

Don't attempt to cover up an injury in order to maintain "accident-free days" and so collect a chicken for Christmas.

REMEMBER to contact your Union if in doubt.

The Policy of the Union is to provide legal aid to members in cases where employer negligence is in evidence.

YOUR policy should be to consult your State officers without delay in all cases where employer negligence is considered to be the cause of your accident.


Union Poem




We'll build a mighty union

Throughout the Commonwealth

To stand up for the workers

Against those who rob by stealth.


Black and white will gather

Men and women too

Old and young together

Will build this world anew.


Fighting for the rights we've won

That they would take away;

Fighting for each other

Our union's here to stay


In our mighty union

There's room for everyone

We want bread and roses

And our place in the sun.


The boss's class wants workers

Bowing to their will

We'll tell them they can stick it

That we are fighting still.


They'll not lash us to their yoke

We'll stand solid like a tree

They'll never break our struggle

United in our dignity.


We'll safeguard the workers

Confined to the scrap heap:

They'll not conscript the unemployed

To get workers on the cheap.


Rich and poor together

Town and country too,

Single parents and their kids

Will build this world anew.


Yes, we'll build a mighty union

Throughout this wide brown land,

Each of us together

Will make them understand.


Workers are not fodder

Australians are not fools

We're flesh and blood and feelings

Not their lifeless tools.


John Tomlinson




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Employee Safety Representatives


Employee Safety Representatives = Union Business


Just like a delegate or shop steward, the role of the Employee Safety Representative (ESR) represents workers.  Unlike delegates and shop stewards, not all ESR's are union members.


In fact, many workplaces don't have an ESR.  A state WorkCover Authority estimates that only about 20% of workplaces have ESR's.  Yet the ESR is a legislated and powerful role in the workplace as a worker representative.


In Tasmania, Employee Safety Representative rights and powers include:


       Being supplied with all information relating to health and safety in the workplace by the employer;

       The right to be consulted about health and safety;

       Inspecting the workplace;

       If a rep believes that there is a situation that is an immediate risk, s/he can order a stop work;

       If the situation is not of immediate concern, issue written notice to the employer requiring that some action be taken;

       And the right to paid training at a course of the Employee Safety Representatives choice.


For more detail on the role and powers of Employee Safety Representatives go to Sections 27 to 32 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 and Regulations 34 to 37 of the Regulations 1998.


2008 Statutory Holidays
2008 Statutory Holidays in Tasmania

  New Years Day


1st January              

  Australia Day


28th January

  Royal Hobart Regatta*


11th February

  Launceston Cup*


27th February

  King Island Show*


4th March

  Eight Hours Day


10th March

  Good Friday


21st March

  Easter Monday


24th March

  Easter Tuesday (limited)


25th March

  Anzac Day


25th April

  Agfest* (Circular Head only)


2nd May

  Queen's Birthday


9th June

  Burnie Show*


3rd October

  Royal Launceston Show*


9th October

  Flinders Island Show*


17th October

  Royal Hobart Show*


23th October

  Recreation Day* (Nthn Tas only)


3rd November

  Devonport Show*


28th November

  Christmas Day


25th December

  Boxing Day

Friday                        26th December

* Denotes public holiday in area only

For school term dates contact the Department of Education on 6233 7536.


Tools for Sale


The Union office stocks a wide range of knives, steels, stones and other tools for its members at wholesale or below wholesale prices.


         We stock a large variety of Geisser, Victorinox, Victory and Dexter Russell knives, along with Cambrian, Dick, Dickeron and Geisser steels of various grades from course to fine to superfine to polished.

         We stock diamond steels and sharpeners and various sharpening stones in both oil or non oil variety and oxide.

         This is purely a service arrangement to members and we use our bulk buying ability to secure the best prices for our members.  Phone us for a full price list.

         Why pay retail or contribute to someone's profit margins when you can buy from the union which creates turnover that enables us to get even better prices.

         Ask your union official or delegate about our tools or contact the union office to purchase these tools.

         Purchases can be made by cash or direct debit.

Choice of Super Fund




As from 1 July, many workers will be entitled to choose their own superannuation fund.  However, for the many workers in the meat industry this choice has effectively been made through your EBA negotiations.

MIESF has been specifically designed for workers in the meat industry and has taken into account the particular requirements of this industry. The Funds objectives: not to make a loss and beat inflation and bank deposit rates over longer periods have always been achieved with an average return of 10% over the life of the Fund.


The Death Benefit that is offered by MIESF has a number of unique features.  The first of these is that the Death Benefit does not cut off after a member has ceased receiving employer contributions for three or six months as is the norm, but will continue indefinitely for workers under 55 and for those over 55, will continue for 3 years after the last employer contribution has been received.  This feature was introduced in recognition of the seasonal nature of our industry.  The Death Benefit also offers a flat $100,000.00 of cover for $3.00 per member per week.  This flat rate of cover is also unusual in the superannuation industry and is attractive for members over the age of 40 to 45 where, under most schemes, the benefit falls quite dramatically.


All this is achieved through self management of the Fund, which also enables the Fund to offer very low fees to members of $1.00 per member per week with no entry or exit fees and no commissions payable.

A representative Board of 7 employer and 7 member representatives (selected by the AMIEU) manage the Fund.  The Fund is not public offer and thus members may only join if their employer is prepared to sign up as a participating employer.  There are currently 837 participating employers most of who are in the meat industry.  MIESF should be seen as the 'fund of choice' for workers in the meat industry.  For further information you should contact the Fund Office on 1800 252 099 or visit the website



Rutherford Report


The Rutherford Report is available from the Tasmanian Government DIER Website


The Government is taking action to modify Tasmania's workers compensation arrangements after a review found that some workers are suffering unanticipated hardship as a result of changes introduced in 2001.  

The Rutherford Report, completed by Bob Rutherford, involved extensive consultation with key stakeholders.


Go to:




Meat legislation loophole?


Tasmania's peak red meat producers group says the state needs better legislation to safeguard the local meat industry. The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association Meat Council chairman David Byard says the state's reputation for high quality meat, which is free of disease, GMO's and hormonal growth promotants, could be jeopardised by meat coming here from interstate or overseas. David Byard says as things stand there's a legislative loophole in which could allow meat from elsewhere to be sold as Tasmanian. 


Beef bred in Tasmania taken out of the state to be fattened in mainland feedlots say 90 days on grain.  Who checks to see if grain feed is GMO or cattle have been implanted with HGP's or mainland stock have been mixed with mainland stock?


On return for processing in Tasmania is the meat a product of Tasmania or processed in Tasmania?


Tasmania is the only state to have banned HGP's.


Cattle bought into the state and processed here legally labeled "Processed in Tasmania".  Cattle grown and bred in Tasmania are a product of Tasmania.  Meat simply sold as Tasmanian meat - What is its status?


Cattle coming into the state being born and bred on the mainland, fattened here and processed here, one would presume as a product of Tasmania.  If this is the case how long does stock have to reside in Tasmania to become a product of Tasmania?  One week, one month, how long?


Product that has a map of Tasmania and says making Tasmania proud.  This product may have been made up of meat from the mainland or places like Denmark, Canada, Holland.  If something like BSE or something dreadful turns up what would it do to Tasmania's reputation?


How many cattle actually come into the state for slaughter over any given year and is there a data base kept so as numbers of cattle can be traced?  If there is not a data base how long would it take for one person to collate these figures?










Recently there has been a number of enquiries by members seeking advise on their legal rights in relation to "Return to Work Plans".


Some employers whether they are self insured or covered by insurance companies are trying to pressure injured workers into signing off on their return to work plans.


There is no legal requirement to sign off on anything in relation to these plans and we advise members to sign nothing.  Your medical practitioner is the authority for signing these plans and your employer knows this, so don't be pressured.  If you are contact us as soon as possible.  Rehabilitation Coordinators should be acting in your best interest.  If they are not you have the right to change coordinators.


A question was asked recently as to whether the rehab coordinator was allowed to attend doctor's appointments with the injured worker?  The answer is yes but only if the injured worker agrees.  If the injured worker feels uncomfortable with the rehab coordinator being there they can refuse the rehab coordinator to attend the same appointment.  The rehab coordinator can then make their own appointment with the doctor treating the injured worker.








Machinery used in meat processing can be bloody dangerous!


Many horrific injuries have occurred in the meat industry that were caused by machines invented to assist in the cutting up of animals after they are dead.


These machines are just as effective on live humans as they are on dead animals!


Machines designed to saw animals in half have sawn through many human fingers, arms, legs and feet with the same ease.


Machines designed to cut off animal's legs and heads have amputated many human hands over the past few years.


Meat denuding machines have skinned human fingers and thumbs to bony stumps or worse!


These types of injuries are permanent and usually leave workers disfigured for life.


Many workers are unaware that they can refuse to operate hazardous machinery that they have not been properly trained in the use of.


If you have not been shown what type of injury can occur when using the machine that you are asked to operate, if you have not been shown the safety features or what to do in case of accident or emergency;













Why do butchers wear those navy blue and white striped aprons?


This is a tradition of our meat trade today, just as the straw boater is the mark of the British butcher.


Years ago the Butchers Guild, which began somewhere around the tenth century, had a blue and silver crest.


These colours were reproduced in the butchers' aprons with the difference that the rather strong blue, known as butchers' blue, was darkened to navy because this colour did not show up the stains so clearly.


If he wore a broad stripe, he was a master butcher.  If the broad stripe stood alone, he had come up the hard way, learning his trade as he worked at it.  But if the broad stripe was topped by a narrow stripe, he was a master butcher who had been apprenticed to his trade.


An apprentice wore an apron with a narrow stripe until he became a master, and if he then undertook to train apprentices himself, he was entitled to wear an apron sporting three stripes - a broad one signifying his mastership, sandwiched between two narrow ones signifying his own apprenticeship and the fact that he was now teaching apprentices.

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