Dawn Meat workers want more money

Workers who have lost their jobs at Dawn Meats in Midleton, Co Cork will have their case referred to the Labour Court, it has been announced.

Negotiations for redundancy packages for 65 workers in the boning hall between management of Dawn Meats and SIPTU broke down yesterday.

Up to 70 agency workers will also lose their jobs.

Following yesterday’s negotiations at the Labour Relations Commission, SIPTU is now seeking to refer the case to the Labour Court.

SIPTU branch organiser Ben Weathers claimed that the talks failed because the company was not willing to offer more than three-and-a-half weeks pay per year of service to each member, inclusive of statutory entitlements.

Dawn Meats also wanted to cap payments at €600 a week, he claimed.

“This was a poor offer at any time but is especially inadequate in the present climate when alternative employment is almost impossible to get.

“Our members did offer to work in the Charleville plant, to which their work is being transferred, even though it is 40 miles away.

“However, the company has said it would only employ them there on a cost-neutral basis — in other words at the same rates as Charleville employees who are on the national minimum wage.”

There was no comment from Dawn Meats today.

Public representatives, including all four TDs for east Cork, have called on the company to state their intentions for the sake of the workers.

The Dawn Group was established in 1980 in Waterford and is one of Europe’s leading food-processing companies.

It forms part of the Queally Group, Ireland’s largest, privately-owned agri-business.

Some of its best-known brands include Dawn Chef, West Cork Beef and Black Angus.

The group processes 500,000 cattle and 1,500,000 lamb per year.

From these it produces 200,000 tonnes of value-added meat products, including 55,000 tonnes of consumer packs which are delivered on a daily basis to Europe’s leading retail outlets.

Dawn operates technically-advanced slaughter, de-boning, shelf-ready retail packing and cooking facilities strategically placed throughout Europe.

The company employs 2,600 people and delivers to more than 40 countries worldwide.

Article courtesy of the Evening Echo newspaper.

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