Thirteen days on a picket line is a long time, and even after the National Union of Workers was injuncted from the picket line at the bequest of Baiada, workers remained united and kept fighting.
Many wouldn't believe the truth about the working conditions at Baiada's poultry factory in Melbourne's west, because the stories from members are shocking. When the factory got set to negotiate a new Agreement, management felt certain that they would be able to intimidate workers into not standing up for their rights... but they were wrong.
Bullying at Baiada was rife; favouritism, bribery, verbal abuse and even reports of violent and sexual abuse started to paint a very frightening picture. Hundreds of workers were working cash-in-hand for $10 an hour and the health and safety on site was terrible.
In 2010 Sarel Singh, a contract cleaner at Baiada, was decapitated after he was ordered to clean a chicken line running at full capacity. He had already finished his shift, but workers say that when he asked if he could go home, he was told he could but not to bother coming back the next day. Workers were given no counselling and sent back to work within a couple of hours after the line had been cleaned.
This sort of treatment is happening in Australia. It is happening in other poultry sites. This is why workers are saying enough is enough.
Workers at Baiada Poultry won their dispute. With strong community support behind them: now every worker at Baiada Laverton will be paid equally, the will be paid site-rates. No more cash in hand. No more $10! Redundancy payments have more than doubled. Union and delegate rights have been improved to help uphold health and safety standards on site. Procedures to deal with bullying and harassment have been put in place to protect workers.