SIPTU organiser Jason Palmer has said that jailing farmers who are protesting outside meat processing plants will not lead to a resolution of the dispute.
The union is calling on Meat Industry Ireland to compensate workers at processing plants who have been temporarily laid off while the dispute is ongoing.
“We support the farmers,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland. The people at the top are earning big money while farmers and processing plant workers are being squeezed, he added.
“I don’t think the protests will be resolved by jailing people.”
Staff have been cushioning their loss of income by taking annual leave and coordinating with social welfare, he explained.
“We would love this dispute to be resolved. Meat Industry Ireland have said they were concerned with the welfare of staff, but that approach is not reflected with pay as the dispute goes on.”
SIPTU has written to Meat Industry Ireland seeking a meeting, but has not yet received a response, said Mr Palmer.
“The people who are making money are the processors and the retailers.”