DUBLIN – A union representing beef plant workers in Ireland are urging employers to compensate workers for wages lost during Irish Farmers Association blockades of beef processing plants.

The Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), argued that beef plant workers lost two days' pay as a result of the IFA blockades. The union plans to hold discussions with employers about possible compensation for affected workers.

“While SIPTU members understand the position of producers and their attempt to get a fair price for their product there is concern that they are not treating the beef plant workers as partners in the industry,” John Dunn, SIPTU sector organizer, said in a statement. “Those involved throughout the beef supply chain and retailers must accept they also have a responsibility to ensure that workers are fairly treated. To this end, SIPTU welcomes that many retailers have signed up to the Ethical Trading Imitative (ETI) committing them to ensuring fair treatment of workers and their right to representation.”

SIPTU also is contacting Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, regarding trade union representation on the Beef Forum, a platform for processors, farm organizations and other Irish beef industry stakeholders to discuss issues affecting the players in the supply chain. Dunne said a union representative on the Beef Forum would ensure issues of worker representation and workers' right to organize would be resolved on an industry wide basis.