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Contact AMIEU Victoria

Victoria Office
62 Lygon Street
Carlton South
Vic 3053 Australia
Tel: 03 9662 3766
Fax: 03 9662 9549


Noel Washington

"The last thing I want to do is go to jail," says Noel. "But there are bigger things at stake here. Workers' rights for one. And in the building industry, we don't have them."

ACTU Campaign

Howard wants to destroy your rights Find out about the ACTU Campaign

Despite the Howard Government
Despite the Drought
Despite the Heat
The Butchers' Picnic on 17 January 2007
Was a Successful Day

The Union Effect

The Union Effect

The most effective tool that we have in ensuring good health and safety at work is trade unions, because organised workplaces are safer workplaces.

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AMIEU supports Injured Workers

WorkCover Rallies and Public Meetings
ACCS 460 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
1.00pm 12 November 2008
Geelong TLC 127 Myers St Geelong
4.00pm 18 November 2008
Country Comfort Inn 525 Raglan Pde Warrnambool
7.00pm 19 November 2008
Cambridge Integrated Services 390 LaTrobe St Melbourne
1.00pm 24 November 2008
Find out about what unions consider is needed on the new VTHC Website
Send a letter to the politicians - ALP Parliamentarians
Forward to fairness

Forward to Fairness Policy Becomes Law


Following promises made during the recent Federal election campaign, the Rudd government has brought into effect a law which will modify some of the worst aspects of the Howard government's Work Choices legislation.  Thw Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Act 2008 commenced operation on 28 March 2008.  Its main features are the following:

Stolen Wages

Qld Council of Unions says that Bligh Government fails indigenous workers

Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union

Meatworkers have enjoyed a history and a culture of unionism

This has been built over many years and has continued from generation to generation.  Work in meatworks and associated workplaces has always been physically hard, dangerous and skilful.  Without the strength of organized labour it would undoubtedly be more dangerous and have stayed poorly paid as well.

Most of the conditions and wages many now enjoy were the result of the unity and industrial action (strikes etc) of workers over many years before them.  All the major sheds through the Sixties, Seventies  and Eighties were one hundred percent unionised and were therefore able to put up a united front against powerful employers who would otherwise have exploited them.  In Victoria particularly, the AMIEU led the way in the establishment of industrial awards, which many now take for, granted.  Things like equal pay for women, long service leave, Superannuation, redundancy, annual leave, sick leave and public holidays were established and developed by the union, backed up with united industrial pressure.

The demise of many of the large meatworks came about for two main reasons.  Firstly the advent of live sheep exports, which undermined the employment base of the small stock processing industry, and secondly many of the large processing companies such as Angliss, Borthwicks, Smorgans and V.I.M.C.O. refused to make the necessary capital expenditure to modernize their works up to the required export standards.

This in turn led to a proliferation of smaller less organized works.  Some of these remain without proper union organisation.  Ararat, Swan Hill, Tongala and Warrnambool are examples of these.  Conditions and wages in these abattoirs and others have fallen behind those that now have Enterprise Agreements based on the old Victorian Meatworks and Bi Products Award, which was established on the back of the workers' efforts in the sheds that were in the VMA in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties.  There are now huge differentials in wages earned between unionised sheds and non-unionised sheds. 

Some of the conditions enjoyed by those with Registered Agreements include:
13 rostered days off per year
Pro rata long service leave after 5 years on termination, or 7 years if you resign.
17.5 % loading on Annual Leave.
At least 30 weeks make up pay for WorkCover recipients.
Redundancy up to 26 weeks.
Compassionate Leave,
Public Holidays.
10 days sick leave with the right to be paid for any unclaimed sick leave.
These are only a few examples of the difference between entitlements in fully organized union factories and those that are not.

Other Advantages of Being in the Union
As well as the obvious difference in wages and conditions between Union sheds and others, there are many benefits from being in the Union along with all your workmates. 

You can have effective representation and advice if you are subject to discrimination or unfair dismissal.  You  will get free advice on WorkCover, leave accruals and termination pay.

The Union has its own Superannuation fund that was established in 1980, long before there was any legislative entitlement to Superannuation.  Being a Union Fund means that members have immediate access to information on their investments and can check to see if employers are making their payments correctly and on time. 

If your workplace is fully unionised you can elect your own delegates and Occupational Health and Safety representatives who are entitled to paid leave whilst they are trained on a meat industry-specific training course, organized through the AMIEU and Victorian Trades Hall. 

Once fully unionised, if your workplace is large, you can build a Shop Committee to co-ordinate the Union's activities at your workplace on behalf of the members.

Union Officials
The Union has five full-time organisers;  Jim Brittain (Warrnambool Office)  Laurie Burley, Collin Ross and Bob Savine, as well as Branch Secretary Graham Bird and Assistant Secretary Paul Conway.  The fifth organiser is the full time Occupational Health and Safety and WorkCover Officer Gwynnyth Evans.  These officials are available to assist members.

Legal Advice
The Union also has legal firms that provide advice and representation when the Union deems it appropriate.  In Melbourne Maurice, Blackburn, Cashman have a
 working relationship with the Union and in the Western District Stringer Clark have offices in Portland, Warrnambool, Hamilton and Ararat, and in Myrtleford Wangaratta and Wodonga, Nevin Lenne & Gross acts on behalf of our members when required.

The Union can offer many tales of exploitation, harassment, discrimination, underpayment, bullying and even criminal assault against workers by their employers.  Being in the Union will not in itself prevent these things happening, although the frequency of such incidents is vastly lower in fully unionised workplaces.  What being in the Union will do is give you advice, protection and the ability to stand up to your boss if he or she tries to take advantage of the employer/employee relationship in any way.

The balance of power in this relationship has always been with the employer.  In recent years attacks on workers' rights by both Federal and Victorian Liberal/National Party Governments have seen the balance even more heavily weighted to the boss.  It is more important now than ever to join the Union and talk to your workmates about doing the same.  You will be amazed what can be achieved in your workplace if every worker at your works joins the Union.

 Victoria Secretary

Graham Bird

 What are Unions in Australia

What are Unions in Australia?

If you can't read English here is the information in:







 Urgent Action Alert




Audited Financial Report
October 2008

 Steps Gallery

Steps Gallery


STEPS GALLERY is a purpose built exhibition space right on Lygon Street, Carlton. It is run by the Meat Industry Employees Superannuation Fund.

It is within walking distance of Melbourn'e central business district and attracts a lot of passing pedestrian traffic. The gallery's entry through the foyer of one of the City's most acclaimed modern buildings, its highly polished parquetry floor and the floor to ceiling glass doors opening into a glassed-in courtyard coffee shop create a vibrant and inviting space for the exhibition of work on walls or small three dimensional works.

STEPS GALLERY is located at 62 Lygon Street CARLTON SOUTH 3053.
For further information or to make a booking, contact

Maxine Bedford
(03) 9650 3577

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