Friday, 25 November 2011

Baiada blockade and battle - #OccupyLaverton

Picture from here

Please read here  Dr David Whyte's article on the horrible people-hating
conditions at Baiada, the strike, the victory.
Please remember the name.
That's right Lilydale.

No, it's not that suburb in the Outer East of Melbourne.
It's a brand name that you might want to detour around
next time you are purchasing chicken.

That could be a contested definition for all I know.
However, what is being contested is 
the company's industrial relations practices.

Baiada is the company behind the Lilydale free range chicken brand. This article gives an idea of the jockeying for position going on in the chicken processing industry.  With the high level of competition within the industry and Baiada's long and continuing saga of industrial problems, it might be fair to ask if what we are seeing in action is a race to the bottom with price the major - and perhaps only - determining factor.  It might also be fair to ask if that price induced competition is treating human beings unfairly, what is the status of product quality exiting Baiada and heading for the supermarket shelves.

These are questions that ethical consumers should always ask.
If money and price become the dominant factors in a company's existence,
the treatment of human beings involved in production
product quality
should be examined.

Things have not been good at the Baiada workplace in Melbourne.  Last year ABC's Lateline covered the situation at that time. Issues currently placing Baiada in dispute with its workers at Laverton in Victoria are outlined here. The workers are represented by the National Union of Workers.  

Workers have been blockading the factory at Laverton.  The current level of action co-incides with #Occupy Melbourne and occupiers have been supporting the Baiada workers.  Yesterday, the company got a court order to halt the blockade.

By now, though, the blockade has a distinct community flavour reminiscent of the activities of Union Solidarity. The indefatigible Mike Stuchbery - blogger, activist, commentator and Occupier - has been tweeting this afternoon from the Baiada Blockade and has sent a photograph from the site as well.  You will notice the criminality and volatility of the pictured blockaders.

Over to Mike:


BTW, have some Union Solidarity colours
gathering dust in the wardrobe
if they'd come in handy!

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