Bega milk and dairy products are set to be in short supply following a successful protected action ballot (PAB) at three dairies across Victoria.
Yesterday, more than 85 percent of participants voted in favour of various forms of industrial action – including indefinite strikes – at Chelsea, Tatura and Stathmerton. They will join Western Australian Bega workers who striked earlier this month and who intend to take further stop work-action in the near-term.
Bega, which manufactures household brands such as Bega Cheese, Vegemite, Pura Milk, Master’s Milk, Dairy Farmer’s Milk, Farmers Union yoghurt, Dare flavoured milks, Daily Juice and Juice Brothers, has taken a hostile approach to bargaining with its workers by refusing to consider pay rises in line with inflation, while demanding a reduction in conditions.
For example, in an unprecedented move, workers have had threatening letters sent to their homes by the company, warning against action.
United Workers Union (UWU) National Dairy Coordinator Neil Smith said Bega were being unnecessarily antagonistic and disrespectful.
“Bega might claim to be proud to be an Australian company, but they should feel no pride about how they treat their workers.”
“I’ve never seen such aggressive and brazen intimidation of workers for exercising their legal right to take industrial action.
“Unless Bega comes to the table now with a fair offer, they are going to be facing national shortages and untold damage to their brand.”
A petition launched by Bega workers has almost reached 2000 signatures calling on the company to give workers a fair offer.
The union will meet with Bega next week in an effort to resolve outstanding claims and prevent strikes.
ENDS UWU Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]