The Australian Workers Union is calling on GrainCorp to open up its coffers and allow workers to reap their fair share of the record harvest.
The AWU says with the drought broken, it’s now time for GrainCorp to give its employees their first decent pay rise in years.
It’s calling for a 12 per cent pay rise over four years – just three per cent each year – but says GrainCorp is refusing to budge despite awarding its top seven executives at least six million dollars in bonuses last year.
Tony Callinan, AWU NSW Assistant Branch Secretary, said: “GrainCorp is in the middle of a bumper harvest. It’s delivering big dividends to shareholders and out of control bonuses to management.
“But, the workers who are out there doing backbreaking work in the searing heat are being totally overlooked.
“It’s been a tough few years for people living in regional NSW. They’ve suffered through the drought and now being hit by the pandemic. Surely it’s time to start giving something back?”
GrainCorp’s 2019 annual report revealed that seven executives got to share more than six million dollars in bonuses in a scheme not linked to corporate profits.
Mr Callinan said: “These greedy executives managed to get themselves the deal of the century in the middle of a drought and when profits were down. They looked after themselves alright but couldn’t care a less for the workers who actually do the grunt work.
“What we are asking for would cost GrainCorp less than 200k but benefit 180 workers and their families. This is not class warfare whingeing – it’s about GrainCorp treating the vast majority of its workers with complete and utter disrespect.”
The AWU has been trying to negotiate with GrainCorp management for months – demanding better pay and working conditions for nearly 180 workers – grain handlers and pest control workers in NSW.
But its calls for salary sacrificing, improved start times and even domestic violence leave have been continually knocked back by GrainCorp. Instead it’s offering workers their usual 2% annual pay rise.
Mr Callinan said: “”What we are calling for would barely make a dent in GrainCorp’s profits but would make a huge difference to the pay packets of its workers and a difference to the communities that they live in.
“It would also be money that would be well spent in regional communities and businesses across NSW that have been struggling for years.”