United Workers Union flags Inghams strike, sparking chicken shortage fears

Workers at one of Australia’s largest poultry producers are demanding an 18 per cent pay rise over three years and are preparing to strike on Friday.

More than 1000 Inghams workers in South Australia and Western Australia will be walking off the job for 24 hours in a bid to win a 6 per cent pay rise annually for the next three years — about $1.50 extra an hour.

If a deal can’t be struck, more industrial action could potentially impact poultry supply at Australia’s most popular supermarkets and fast food restaurants.

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Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, KFC, McDonald’s could all be affected by chicken shortages if ongoing industrial action is taken, 7NEWS understands.

The United Workers Union (UWU) said that would only happen if workers’ demands were not met.

The UWU said Inghams could afford the boost after recently raking in major profits on the back of chicken price increases.

Net profits of the $1 billion company surged by 72 per cent in the 2023 financial year to $60.4 million.

More than 1000 Inghams workers in South Australia and Western Australia will strike on Friday. Credit: 7NEWS
The company is accused of intimidating its workforce and failing to pass on major profits made from chicken price increases to workers. Credit: 7NEWS

“Workers at Inghams are only on around $25 an hour, and they are simply asking for an extra $1.50 an hour,” UWU national secretary Tim Kennedy told 7NEWS.com.au.

“These are the very workers who have contributed to their huge profits by showing up every day, during pandemics, in the middle of the night, on public holidays, doing a less-than-glamorous job to make sure Australians have protein on their plates.”

UWU alleged Inghams had threatened a lockout and distributed material “to confuse workers about their protected rights” after the members decided to take the legally sanctioned action.

Bargaining for the pay rise to keep up with a rising cost of living has been ongoing since the beginning of the year but UWU said the company had not yet offered “a respectable agreement”.

7NEWS.com.au has contacted Inghams for comment.

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