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Workers rights being eroded at Grove Turkeys – Treanor

15 September, 2009

Clones area Sinn Féin Councillor, Pat Treanor, has called on management at Grove Turkeys to explain the drastic cut in pay and conditions of workers employed at the Smithboro’ plant.

Accusing some employers in the country, including Grove Turkeys, of using the economic downturn to strip workers of hard won conditions and pay, Cllr. Treanor says that he has been contacted by former Grove workers who have been offered minimum rates of pay and contract employment just two weeks after these same workers received their redundancy payments.

Pointing out that workers are being left with no option but to accept employment on these reduced terms, Councillor Treanor said:

“Former workers at Grove Turkeys that I have spoken to are very angry that they were made redundant when there clearly was plenty of work for them at the factory. Since January 2008, when Grove announced a rationalisation plan involving reducing their workforce from around 200 to 70, these workers were left in a terrible situation by the parent company (Kerry Foods).

“In addition to 130 workers and their families facing the dole, 85 farmers producing turkeys had to make alternative arrangements.

“The workers were initially laid off for nine weeks. They were then brought back for two weeks before being laid off again. Some were offered work for the Christmas market before being let go a third time. They were brought back for a number of three-day-weeks.

“The company then proposed to pay redundancy only at the part-time working rate, but were forced to pay the basic statutory two weeks per year worked.

“Just two weeks after receiving these payments, some have again been offered work at the factory, this time under a contractor and at a reduced rate of €8.65/hr.

“This is a scandalous way of treating men and women workers who have given the best years of their working lives to Kerry Foods and Grove Turkeys,” said Councillor Treanor.

“Needless to say, there are many people who will take whatever work is available in the current economic climate, even at minimum pay rates. Grove management knows this and it is a dreadful reflection on the company that cynical advantage is being taken of people’s genuine desire to work.

“The practice of stripping workers of their hard-won conditions and pay must be challenged and reversed” the Sinn Féin councillor concluded. ENDS

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