WHAT: Dairy workers speak to the importance of paid emergency service leave in regional Victoria as they campaign for fair pay and secure jobs.
WHO: Saputo Allansford delegates David Clements and Dan Brown and United Workers Union official Amber Gardner.
WHERE: 5331 Great Ocean Rd, Allansford VIC 3277.
A major multinational’s scrooge-like approach to paid emergency service leave for firefighting duties is being called out by regional Victorian dairy workers, as the biggest dairy strike in living memory enters its second day today.
More than 1400 workers from four major dairy companies are taking 48 hours of strike action in Victoria, calling on major multinationals for a wage increase to address the cost-of-living crisis.
Among dairy workers’ claims is also paid emergency service leave so volunteer CFA workers can address natural disasters when necessary.
“You can’t run a dairy processing plant if all the dairy farms are burnt out,” United Workers Union National Secretary Tim Kennedy said.
Mr Kennedy said Saputo’s failure to come to the table on paid emergency service leave was a sign of a multinational dairy corporation being out of touch with the regional communities it depends on.
“Workers who have done significant volunteering with the CFA fighting blazes that have threatened local businesses have been forced to stop those activities because Saputo refuses to offer paid emergency service leave to its workforce,” Mr Kennedy said.
“Emergency service leave is one of the reasons these workers are on strike, because they know how important their volunteering during emergencies is to others in their regional community.”
Dan Brown, a delegate from the Saputo Allansford site near Warrnambool, said: “We’ve had members of the emergency services who have pulled out of those services because when they have gone off to provide emergency and disaster relief they haven’t been paid.
“They should be paid. They are out looking after our suppliers, looking after us in the community and they’re representing Saputo.”
Rob Lovell, a delegate from Fonterra Cobden, where Fonterra has made in-principle agreements about paid emergency service leave during the negotiations, said dairy workers at Cobden also volunteered with the CFA.
In 2018 fires near Cobden claimed milking herds and Fonterra Cobden was evacuated.
“In regional Victoria we’re prone to bushfires, and emergency service leave is really important,” Mr Lovell said.
“A couple of years ago there actually was a bushfire and they had to evacuate the site because there was smoke.
“I do believe paid emergency service leave is a good idea because it’s about people looking after their own communities and having that support in their communities.”
|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.|
UWU Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]