Workers at the Tamworth Baiada chicken processing plant are set to receive a 15 per cent pay rise over the next 12 months.
A new enterprise bargaining agreement covering maintenance workers at the factory will also guarantee improved working conditions, the Australian Workers' Union (AWU) announced on Wednesday.
AWU NSW branch secretary Tony Callinan said the major pay rise came after a short, sharp campaign by workers, who took advantage of local economic conditions.
"The New England region faces a huge shortage of skilled workers, with many being lured to work in the mining industry," he said.
"Baiada's maintenance workers were already earning above the award rate.
"But when the AWU delegates and members compared what maintenance workers in similar plants and abattoirs were being paid, they could show Baiada that it was paying way below the standard for this region."
Under the four-year agreement, workers will get a 15 per cent pay rise in the first year, followed by three 2 per cent pay increases.
Domestic violence and casual conversion clauses were also included in the agreement.
Tamworth AWU organiser Serge Rindo said workers would get an pay rise of between $4 and $5 an hour, depending on their current pay levels.
It's the biggest pay increase he's ever seen as a union organiser.
"Maintenance workers keeps the machinery going," he said.
"They look after all the machines, welding, fitting. Keep the whole place running. If they're not there the place doesn't run."
The union represents about 80 per cent of employees at the plant.
Mr Callinin said the Baiada pay increase would mean the company had kept its maintenance workers happy and would retain more of them.
"The AWU is proud of the work we have done," he said.
"It shows that working together will get a better outcome for all our members."
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