Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union


Saputo Dairy workers say fight over mainland wage disparity leaves multinational in turmoil

Maintenance workers at Saputo Dairy who walked off the job at the processor’s Burnie site in North-West Tasmania from midnight Sunday 5th May are set to continue their protected industrial action from 11am Tuesday 7th May say their stoppages are creating a significant impact to the multinational company.

Last month workers went on strike fighting for industry rates of pay and mainland wages, with workers on sister sites in Victoria earning 21% more than their colleagues in Burnie.

But so far there’s been a lack of a reasonable response by Saputo Dairy.

The stoppages this time round has meant there are significant maintenance issues that have not been addressed including failed sensors affecting the production line.

Since the walk off on Sunday, production has stopped from Monday morning until Monday night.

With the strike commencing Tuesday morning, the estimated potential wasted product from Monday night to Tuesday morning will cost the company $90,000 to $100,000.

It has left the company scrambling with Saputo Dairy calling for an emergency crisis meeting. The multinational is considering cancelling their next maintenance shutdown in June.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) and the Communications, Electrical & Plumbing Union (CEPU) are seeking Saputo Dairy address the discrepancy with Tasmanian wages which have been ignored during enterprise bargaining negotiations.

Earlier today, Labor MP for Braddon Anita Dow visited the Burnie site and supported the protected industrial action by the maintenance crew and affirmed that local jobs should be paid correctly.

Negotiations with Saputo Dairy have been ongoing since August 2023.

This last round of stoppages are the fourth by AMWU members.

Quotes attributable to Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union Tasmanian State Organiser Michael Wickham:

“Our protected industrial actions are disrupting Saputo Dairy’s bottom line. These workers deserve to be treated like those on the mainland, and paid accordingly like those on the mainland. We are no longer the poorer cousins. These workers are essential for the company as you can see. Saputo is in turmoil over our stoppages.”

“This halt to production is clearly on the heads and the responsibility of Saputo.”

Media contact: Sonia Feng 0478 599 580

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