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Australia Bakery giant Cripps rejects union pay deal for Tasmanian workers

01:50  26 november  2020
01:50  26 november  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Cripps Nubake is Tasmania ’s leading plant bakery . The company’s heritage goes back to 1878 when the #giveawaytime We are giving away another FOUR family passes to see the Dinosaur rEvolution exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery!!

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a sign on the side of a building: Cripps says the union's proposed wage increase is not sustainable and would result in job losses. (ABC News: Janek Frankowski) © Provided by ABC Business Cripps says the union's proposed wage increase is not sustainable and would result in job losses. (ABC News: Janek Frankowski)

Workers at Tasmania's largest factory bakery are rising up against a wage offer they say is incompatible with the cost of living.

The United Workers Union has been negotiating a new agreement covering Cripps' factory workers, merchandisers and distributors.

Union organiser Stephen McCallum said the company's failure to adhere to a previous offer to increase wages by about 10 per cent over three years meant workers were now due for a 13 per cent pay rise, followed by increases of 5 per cent each over two years.

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Tasmanian public sector unions have roundly rejected the Government's latest pay proposal, flagging the possibility of full-day strikes as the long-running Mr Lynch said if the Government did not offer workers a "realistic" pay rise "in a very short period of time, we will go back to our industrial action

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"They've allowed workers' pay to fall down to the minimum wage and they're maintaining they don't want to provide any pay rises above the minimum wage," Mr McCallum said.

"So right now they're offering a 0 per cent pay rise."

Cripps has sites in the north, north-west and south of Tasmania where it bakes and distributes bread, muffins and crumpets under its own branding as well as Abbott's Village Bakery, Vogel's and William's.

It is known throughout Tasmania for its tongue-in-cheek ads featuring a deep-voiced male character known as the Cripps ambassador.

"It seems incredible that Cripps seem to have money to throw at all kinds of sporting groups, spend money on ads, including prime-time TV, but they can't provide a modest pay rise for their workers — which they've previously agreed to," Mr McCallum said.

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The average hourly pay for a Bakery Worker Apprentice in Australia is AU.12. Bakeries and other large food preparation operations which require baked breads and desserts often hire bakery worker apprentices to work with the bakers and chefs.

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'Workers with kids are really worried'

Cripps workers speaking through the union on condition of anonymity said the bulk of their pay was spent "on the essentials".

"It's like being on a hamster wheel … you just have to keep struggling on before you get left behind," one worker said.

Another added: "Workers with kids are really worried. A lot of us just can't afford the rising costs of living and are moving in with our parents."

Cripps chief executive Paul Gadomski said the company's latest pay offer would provide employees with greater access to penalty rates, meaning no employee would be worse off — but the business would be "exposed" to a 5 per cent increase in labour costs.

In a letter to staff, Cripps said under its offer:

  • The penalty period will increase from 8pm-4am to 6pm-6am;
  • Employees would be entitled to the shift loading for the full shift instead of only the hours that fall in the penalty period;
  • Sunday penalty will also increase from 175 per cent of base rate to 200 per cent; and,
  • Cripps would continue to pay 17.5 per cent leave loading on top of shift penalties whilst an employee is on.

The email to staff also said: "Annual leave [is] not an award or Enterprise Agreement requirement, but something that Cripps have done to support employees and as part of negotiations, we have committed to continue this practice for the benefit of employees."

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Union leaders questioned whether ministers could be trusted after a series of clashes over pay and controversy after the Government staged pay Chancellor Alistair Darling claimed that a three-year deal would bring certainty to workers about future wages as well as help Government departments

Mr Gadomski said profitability had declined over the past six years and the company was facing pressure from the supermarket giants as well as competitors with lower labour costs.

Graphs from the company suggested the average full-time Cripps worker was earning above the minimum wage.

"Cripps have expressed to the union (its proposed wage increase is) NOT sustainable by the business and would result in job losses," Mr Gadomski told staff.

"This is not what Cripps wants to do, especially in a context where statistics show that for every job vacancy in Tasmania there are 27 Tasmanians looking for work — that's without consideration of any interstate applications."

Mr McCallum said workers were not ruling out industrial action if Cripps failed to return to the negotiating table.

The company cancelled its last meeting with the union after it was told the pay issue could be publicised in the media.


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