Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union

 

Tassie dairy workers slam Saputo's 'nowhere near mainland parity’ wage offer, future strikes to come

Australian trade unions have signalled to Canadian milk giant Saputo Dairy of continuing work stoppages as Tasmanian workers ramp up their campaign for mainland rates of pay.

Saputo Dairy workers at the processor’s Burnie site in North-West Tasmania have rejected the latest offer by the multinational company during enterprise bargaining negotiations, prompting the maintenance crew to walk off the job Friday afternoon.

Workers have been on strike fighting for industry rates of pay and mainland wages, as workers on sister sites in Victoria earn 21% more than their colleagues in Burnie.

On Friday, Saputo Dairy only offered 9.5% in the first year, which is well short of 21% that would ensure pay parity with the mainland.

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) Tasmanian State Organiser Michael Wickham said the offer by the multinational was unacceptable.

“Leading into the meeting, we were told by Saputo Dairy that we were on the same page. After this latest offer, it’s clear we are pages apart. This is well short of parity with the mainland sister sites, and we are not going to accept anything less than parity.”

“Saputo’s position is a penny-pinching low-ball 3 year offer that would see Tasmanian workers worse off by over 10%. It shows no recognition that Tasmanians want to be paid equal to their Victorian colleagues, and employees refuse to be ‘poor cousins’ of the mainland any longer,Mr Wickham said.

The current offer has led the AMWU to issue a stark warning to the multinational.

“It has been a unanimous decision by union members to increase industrial action and continue for as long as it takes to be recognised as equals to their mainland sites.”

“There is immense support by the local community, the mainland, politicians, economists and civil society that Tasmanian workers should be paid like their colleagues in Victoria,Mr Wickham said.

“The work of the maintenance crew is critical to the company as seen by our latest stoppages which halted production and led to potential wasted product. These workers deserve to be paid fair wages.”

The AMWU and the Communications, Electrical & Plumbing Union (CEPU) urge Saputo Dairy to address the discrepancy with Tasmanian wages.

Negotiations with Saputo Dairy have been ongoing since August 2023. This latest round of stoppages is the fifth by AMWU and CEPU members.

There will be a media opportunity at Peppers Silo Launceston on 89 Lindsay Street at 11:30am Tuesday 13th May. AMWU Organiser Mick Wickham will be available for comment.

Media contact: Sonia Feng 0478 599 580

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