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Thursday 19 October

More than 1400 dairy workers across four processors and 13 sites have expressed their solidarity as they end the largest dairy strike in living memory from first shift tomorrow (EDS: 6 am or 7 am tomorrow based on their site).

Dave Chapman, from Peter’s Icecream in Mulgrave, said the fight for a cost-of-living wage increase would continue.

“For a long time we have been feeling left behind, neglected, not recognised by the company with what we have been offered,” he said.

“A lot of these people have got young families, a lot have also got mortgages. So we’ve had 12 mortgage rate rises we’ve had to deal with plus it’s also the price of food going through the roof.

“Everyone’s doing it tough and we deserve a cost-of-living pay rise.

“This is the most united we have ever been. The message should get through to management that we’re not being unreasonable and that we are united in what we are after.”

United Workers Union National Secretary Tim Kennedy said it was time for the companies to come to the table with a fair offer.

“Dairy workers have had enough of the disrespectful way these companies have been treating them, after workers agreed to low wages to help the companies out during the pandemic,” United Workers Union National Secretary Tim Kennedy said.

“After more than six months of negotiations the offers of these companies still fall far below cost of living increases.

“There will now be talks with the major dairy processors to see if they are finally willing to pay dairy workers what they need to keep up with the cost of living in their regional centres.

“As always, it will be up to members to decide what action to take next, and they have already voted for the option of rolling 24-hour stoppages in this dispute.

“From what we have seen from 1400 dairy workers walking off the job on this strike, they will not take it lying down if the bosses try to short-change them.

“As a sign of workers’ resolve, mass meetings of dairy workers at every site this afternoon have endorsed taking further industrial action if their reasonable demands for a cost-of-living pay rise are not met.”


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