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State Meat Industry Award Update



These Rates have been amended to reflect the Western Australian Industrial Commissions decision in the recent State Wage case incorporating the $24.00 Safety Net Wage Adjustments) effective from the 1st July 2007

The new minimum weekly adult rates of pay are as follows:


         Level 1(minimum adult rate) - $484.40 p/week(as of 1st July 2007) $528.40

  • Labourer with less than 3 months service.

         Level 2 - $489.70 p/week (as of 1st July 2007)  $533.70

  • Including labourer with more than 3 months service; carton room hand; cook assistant; knife hand; laundry employee; meat loading & lumping; stockperson; table hand; strapping machine operator.

         Level 3 - $518.05 p/week (as of 1st July 2007)  $562.05

Including boner, slicer & slaughter person undergoing training; wrapper/packer; vacuum packing grader; by-products operator.


         Level 4 - $542.30 p/week (as of 1st July 2007)  $586.30

Including boner, slicer & slaughter person unable to perform all cuts on a single species and rotate to all stations; dry/smoking hams; curer; QA undergoing training; packer who has knowledge of all packs & species and able to rotate to every work station; wrapper/packer with customer service skills.


         Level 5 (trade rate) - $578.20 p/week (as of 1st July 2007)  $622.40

Including boner, slicer & slaughter person who performs all cuts on a single species and able to rotate between all tasks; butcher; smallgoods maker; by-products operator who is competent on all machinery.


         Level 6 (processing & smallgoods) - $630.70 p/week(as of 1st July 2007)  $674.70

Boner, slicer & slaughter person who performs work above and beyond the skills at Level 5; leading hand for position up to Level 5.


 Level 4 (retail) - $542.30 p/week (as of 1st July 2007)   $586.30

Wrapper/packer with customer service skills


   Level 5 (retail) - $578.20 p/week (as of 1st July 2007)   $622.20

         Tradesman - Butcher


         Level 6 (retail) - $630.45 p/week (as of 1st July 2007)  $674.70

First shop person.


These rates of pay will increase automatically through safety net adjustments in line with any General Order from the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission. 


New constant unit rates for slaughtering, boning & slicing:



Cattle & Beef:                       $9.50

Sheep, lambs & goats:        $1.70 (export) / $1.60 (domestic)

Pigs:                                       From $3.05 to $9.50 subject to weight



Cattle & Beef:                       $10.61

Sheep, lambs & goats:        $1.70 (export) / $1.60 (domestic)



Cattle & Beef:                       $9.98

Sheep, lambs & goats:        $1.60 (export) / $1.50 (domestic)


(The employer has the right to operate under an hourly rate system or a constant unit rate)

 The process of inserting the minimum rates adjustments into the State Meat Industry Award was completed resulting in a modernised award registered by the WAIRC late in November 2003.  In addition to the adjustments, the union was able to secure changes to the award that would provide further benefits to our membership who are not bound by an enterprise bargaining agreement.


This exercise was initiated by the union as far back as 1984 following the recommendations of the Federal Meat Industry Inquiry.  Negotiations with employers and their representative bodies stalled due to a number of reasons, including politically motivated objections from employers and the union's priority at the time to secure enterprise agreements. 


The WA Branch resolved to finalise the exercise as a matter of urgency with the view of providing a safety net for our membership who, without collective industrial muscle, had been unable to secure an enterprise agreement.  Led by the Branch Secretary, and John Da Silva, the union resumed negotiations with the employers early in 2003, the union has delivered the changes that were acceptable to the parties and retained the customary practices of the meat industry through a consent award variation.


A summary of some of the changes to the award are as follows:


  • The 130 or so callings in the old award has been collapsed into a 6-level skills based classification structure with career paths and promotion through structured on and/or off the job training.

  • An alternative method of payment for the slaughtering, boning and slicing of livestock based on the constant unit rate value of each species.

  • Workers are now required to be notified by their employer before their first day of employment whether they are to be engaged on a full-time, part-time or casual basis.

  • The requirement of either party to provide one week notice of their intention to terminate the contract of employment has been changed to reflect the notice periods outlined in the Federal Workplace Relations Act which would require the employer to provide a greater notice period for long serving workers.

  • Most allowances have been increased by over 35% with future annual increases linked to the consumer price index (CPI) movements.

  • The previous qualifying period of 12 months of employment before a worker is entitled to payment of unused annual leave upon termination has been removed.  Workers will now be entitled to a pro rata of this entitlement unless the worker has been terminated for willful misconduct.

  • Now includes an entitlement for award workers to access up to 5 days a year from their sick leave entitlement to care for a sick member of their household.

  • Bereavement Leave is now extended to de facto partners and members of the worker's family who resided outside Australia.

  • With the exception of workers engaged on shift work, all other workers employed in the industry are to be paid by the 38-hours per week divisor.

Through this achievement, the union has taken a substantial leap in providing a minimum rate award that delivers reasonable wage outcomes together with improved conditions of employments for award workers.  We believe this also provides a window of hope for those workers who have been entrapped by those obnoxious un-Australian Workplace Agreements.



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