Chicken shortages loom across Australia as union workers pledge to keep the facilities of major poultry supplier Inghams shut down over an escalating pay dispute.
The strike action kicked off on Friday with a 24-hour work stoppage at Inghams’ West Australian operations and a rolling shutdown in South Australia has continued into Monday.
Claire Lewis, a union organiser at the company’s Bolivar plant in Adelaide, confirmed the strike action would extend through the week if an agreement could not be reached.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and United Workers Union want a 6 per cent pay increase for workers each year for the next three years.
The Fair Work Commission is mediating talks between the unions and Inghams on Monday.
Workers at Inghams’ West Australian plants are working on Monday but a stoppage will be called at midnight if the FWC talks break down.
South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas is backing the industrial action.
“These are low-paid workers often from migrant communities who have come to Australia to do work that a lot of other people frankly wouldn’t consider,” Mr Malinauskas told ABC Radio Adelaide on Monday.
ASX-listed Inghams has a market capitalisation of $1.25bn and supplies chicken to Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, KFC, McDonald’s and Subway.
On Friday, a KFC spokesman confirmed the fast-food icon was working on “contingency plans” with Inghams to maintain supply to its West Australian and South Australian stores.
“While the strike is taking place, we don’t expect any impact to chicken supply across our restaurants,” he said.
Inghams has been contacted for comment.
More to come