WHAT: Striking dairy workers take 48-hour strike action to address cost-of-living wage concerns.
WHO: Regional and metropolitan dairy workers, United Workers Union National Secretary Tim Kennedy and ACTU Secretary Sally McManus.
WHERE: Peter’s Icecream, 254 Wellington Rd, Mulgrave VIC 3170
REGIONAL: See below for addresses where workers will also be taking action.
The largest dairy strike in living memory in Australia’s largest milk producing state starts at 13 sites across regional and metro Victoria this morning, with workers demanding a cost-of-living wage increase.
Today 1400 workers walk off the job for 48 hours from the first shift across four major dairy producers – Fonterra, Saputo, Lactalis and Peter’s – where national brands including Western Star butter, Cracker Barrel cheese, Peter’s Icecream and Perfect Italiano are manufactured.
“Workers who put up with wage increases as low as 2.5 per cent a year during the pandemic are saying they deserve a cost-of-living wage increase,” the National Secretary of the United Workers Union, Tim Kennedy, said today.
“These workers are fighting for safe, secure jobs in regional communities, where almost every dollar they earn goes back into those communities.
“Given the historic nature of the strike across the state consumers can expect a big impact on supply chains and their favourite products.”
Mr Kennedy said workers who had backed the multinational companies had seen milk prices rise and the profits of the companies increase, but workers had not received a fair share.
“These workers are not even asking for a wage increase that keeps them ahead of the current inflation rate,” Mr Kennedy said.
“While the dairy industry sees profit increases, these financial gains are not being fairly distributed to the workers. Our members are the backbone of this industry, and it’s high time profits are shared more fairly.”
Derek Dent, a worker at Saputo’s factory at Leongatha, said workers were strong supporters of the dairy industry and the importance of the industry in their communities.
“I work with good people who make the job look easy, but it is not. It’s loud. It’s hot. It’s hard work. It takes a special person to do shift work, to push your body and your mind to function at 3 am when your body just wants to sleep.
“But we have a responsibility: we are manufacturing food, we need it to be safe.
“Dairy companies are turning a massive profit and workers want a fair share – and a wage offer of 3% to 4% in a cost-of-living crisis is not a fair offer.”
|Sites||Manufacturer||Number of workers.||Address||Retail Products Produced|
|Allansford (3 sites on one block)||Saputo||300||5331 Great Ocean Rd, Allansford VIC 3277||Cheer, Cracker Barrel & Great Ocean Road cheeses.|
|100||18 Yarragon Rd, Leongatha VIC 3953||Devondale Long Life milk,|
|Devondale butter &|
|Liddells lactose free milk.|
|Kiewa||Saputo||107||19 Kiewa East Rd, Tangambalanga, VIC 3691||YoPRO yoghurt & Danone Cream cheese.|
|ILC Laverton||Saputo||77||85 William Angliss Dr, Laverton North VIC 3028||Warehouse.|
|Peters Mulgrave||Peter’s||205||254 Wellington Rd, Mulgrave VIC 3170||Peters Ice creams.|
|Lactalis Longwarry||Lactalis||22||31-41 Mackay St, Longwarry VIC 3816||McDonalds and Hungry Jacks Soft Serve, Président Butter|
|Cobden||Fonterra||160||129 Curdle St, Cobden VIC 3266||“Western Star” butter,|
|Woolworths home brand milk & cream.|
|Darnum||Fonterra||62||Darnum Park Rd, Darnum VIC 3822||Powdered milk.|
|Stanhope||Fonterra||100||20 Midland Hwy, Stanhope VIC 3623||“Perfect Italiano” cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan & ricotta).|
|Cobram (2 sites)||Saputo||285||90 Broadway St, Cobram VIC 3644||All Coles cheese products, Woolworths parmesan,|
|Cheer & Devondale Cheese products.|