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Following tight pay negotiations, workers planning industrial action at Fonterra and Saputo dairy processing plants across Victoria have secured historic pay deals.

Workers at Fonterra owned Stanhope, Darnum and two dairy plants in Cobden, secured a historic deal including:

  • All shift workers receive a paid meal break, securing approximately $110 a week to shift workers take home pay.

  • Protection for future workers’ wages and conditions, by including a commitment for Fonterra to consult with the local community if a plant is likely to be closed.

  • Paid domestic violence and mental health leave.

  • Improved shift allowance.

  • Improved casual conversion clauses.

  • A commitment to deal with the effects of heat and cold in the workplace.

  • A commitment to environmental sustainability.

At Saputo in Allansford, workers have been fighting for pay parity with the multi-site union agreements at other Saputo sites. Allansford workers earn up to $6 less per hour than those covered under the multi-site agreement.

Saputo’s in-principle agreement sees workers win pay parity including:

  • 3.5% pay rise, aligning wages to achieve same work, same pay with workers no longer doing the same jobs on different rates of pay.

  • 10 days of paid leave to attend emergency service volunteer duties.

  • Improved casual conversion clause.

  • A commitment to deal with the effects of heat and cold in the workplace.

  • Improved Union rights.

“These improved offers come at the eleventh hour as more than 560 union members across the five sites were preparing to take industrial action tomorrow,” said United Workers Union Dairy Coordinator Neil Smith.

“We know good, secure dairy jobs are essential to our regional communities. These workers have won this victory for their families and for generations of families to come in these communities.

“These strong offers, from two of the world’s largest dairy companies, demonstrate the power of working people when they come together in their Union and take action,” said Mr Smith.

Whilst in-principle agreements have been reached with the companies, union members at each site will now consider the offers and vote to endorse it, before a formal vote of all workers occurs. 24-hour industrial action across the five Victorian dairy sites was due to start tomorrow.


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