Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has slammed what he described as “bully boy tactics” from Meat Industry Ireland following the group’s announcement that up to 3,000 of its members would be temporarily laid off.
Deputy Fitzmaurice’s comments came following unconfirmed reports that some workers at the Kepak plant in Athleague had been temporarily laid off on Tuesday. According to sources, a number of the plant’s canteen staff were laid off. Kepak announced on Wednesday that 1,125 staff had been temporarily laid off from meat plants around the country. It is feared that further lay-offs are imminent unless the current dispute is resolved.
It is claimed that SIPTU had written to MII three weeks ago in relation to the dispute but failed to receive a response ahead of recent lay-offs.
Deputy Fitzmaurice said: “Talks should have begun a week ago. If this dispute is not resolved and farmers continue on the same path, then there will be no factories or workers. This dispute needs to be resolved for the sake of farmers and their families”.
Meanwhile, there have been positive developments following last night’s (Wednesday) meetings between Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, farm organisations and beef processors, with talks set to resume in the current days. See more on page 3.