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AWU calls on Sunpork to give 280 new jobs to regional Australians instead of short-term foreign workers

August 25, 2020

The Australian Workers’ Union is calling on pork producer Sunpork to immediately drop plans to bring in 280 short-term visa workers to fill jobs that could easily be snapped up by regional Australians who desperately need them in the wake of Covid-19.

Sunpork’s operations are centred in regional areas, primarily in South Australia and Queensland. The company employs around a third of total employees in the Australian industry.

Sunpork is applying to import 280 foreign workers on short term visas to work primarily at its farms. All would be occupying the position of ‘Senior Stockperson (Piggery).’ The role generally requires only a year’s regular training, but that training can be fast tracked and condensed into a few months.

Australian Workers’ Union National Secretary Daniel Walton said Sunpork needed to immediately drop its application.

“Sunpork is the biggest player in Australian pork, so if it refuses to train and hire locals who will?” Mr Walton said.

“There is zero reason to import foreign workers to this job. It’s simply lazy and expedient, and we are talking here about a business that pulled in 223 million dollars last year.

“Regional Australia is hurting in the wake of Covid. There’s a genuine youth employment crisis in these areas. It is unacceptable for a major industry player to be leapfrogging young Australians to hand jobs to workers on short-term visas.

“The federal government should be taking a good look at Sunpork’s social license here. Despite making $223 million it paid just $1 million in tax last year. And now it’s not employing locals when it easily could.

“This kind of practice was always a disgrace, but as we head into a deep recession we just can’t afford it anymore. Giants with the capacity to train and hire Australians, like Sunpork, should be made to do so. Their shareholders will still do just fine.”

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