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The labour market research report, Work Arrangements in the Australian Meat Processing Industry, was released on 9 October 1998. Four appendices (C, D, E and F), which were not released as part of the original report, were added to the web version of the report on 11 December 2001. Meat processing is an important manufacturing activity in Australia. The industry directly employs around 27 500 people, and labour represents a large proportion of the cost of production at the processing stage. As such, the cost and productivity of labour is an important determinant of firm performance and competitiveness. In recent years, increased competitive pressure on domestic and export markets has led to some rationalisation in the industry and, with a more facilitative regulatory environment, has brought changes in work arrangements as firms strive to improve their performance. This study examines selected work arrangements and assesses their implications for the performance of meat processing enterprises. The effects on employees are also considered, and the scope to achieve further necessary change is analysed. The study has drawn on information obtained from detailed discussions with industry representatives (including several meat processors), as well as previous industry studies.


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