Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union

 

Tassie dairy workers call for Canadian intervention as stoush over mainland wage disparity continues

Tasmanian trade unions are appealing to the head of Canadian cheese manufacturer Saputo Dairy to resolve a wage disparity experienced by the maintenance crew at the processor’s Burnie site in North-West Tasmania.

Workers have been exercising their right to protected industrial action having rejected the latest offer by the multinational company during enterprise bargaining negotiations.

The maintenance crew are calling for industry rates of pay and mainland wages, as workers in Burnie are being paid 21% less than their colleagues in the neighbouring state of Victoria for the same job.

Saputo Dairy latest offer of 9.5% in the first year is well short of the 21% workers have been asking for that would ensure pay parity with the mainland.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) and the Communications, Electrical, Energy and Plumbing Union (CEPU) have written to the CEO of Saputo Dairy seeking intervention. 

In addition to the wage disparity, a recent review of workers skills and classification resulted in the majority of the maintenance team being assessed at a higher level, meaning that Saputo was in receipt of higher skilled work than it was paying for.

Saputo local management have refused to adopt the outcome of the review it paid for. Adoption of the review’s recommendations would have seen an adjustment to wages, properly compensating these workers for the skills Saputo benefits from.

The AMWU and CEPU are asking Saputo Dairy to immediately adopt the findings of the classifications review and stop its engagement in wage theft.

Negotiations with Saputo Dairy Australia have been ongoing since August 2023.

Saputo Dairy which is headquartered in Canada, produces specialty cheese brands including South Cape, Tasmanian Heritage and Mersey Valley.

AMWU National Secretary Steve Murphy said:

“Saputo workers in Tasmania have a simple expectation   that their labour is equally valued and equally rewarded. Workers can put a figure on what that looks like. You can’t put a price on feeling respected for the work you do.”

“What is needed now is the decision to pay all Saputo workers fairly.”

Media contact: Sonia Feng 0478 599 580

 

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