SIPTU has called for workers in the beef industry to be compensated for the loss of earnings they have suffered as a result of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) blockade on beef processing plants. SIPTU Sector Organiser, John Dunne, said: “Many beef plant workers have lost two days’ pay this week as a result of the IFA’s 48-hour blockade of beef plants. This is in addition to one day’s pay lost as a result of a pervious 24-hour IFA blockade. “Workers should be compensated for their loss of earnings as a result of these blockades. SIPTU will be seeking to have our members compensated for their losses through discussions with employers. “SIPTU is also contacting the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, seeking trade union representation on the Beef Forum. This would ensure that workers in the beef industry have their concerns heard. Representation on the Beef Forum would also be utilised to ensure that the issue of worker representation and their right to organise is resolved on an industry wide basis”. John Dunne added: “Many workers in the industry are surviving on minimum rates of pay while their terms and conditions have starkly declined since the onset of the recession in 2008. Several major employers in the industry also continue to resist any attempts by trade unions to organise and represent workers. This has resulted in a continuing decline in wages and conditions in the industry. “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. 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 (E.T.I.) committing them to ensuring fair treatment of workers and their right to representation”.