Unions call for nationwide boycott of Saputo dairy products

Unions representing Tasmanian maintenance workers are launching a nationwide boycott of Saputo dairy products after the multinational allegedly reneged on a mainland pay parity deal.

Gerard Lourey, Operations and Supply Chain Director at Saputo Dairy Australia, said Saputo is of the opinion that the union’s are spreading “mischaracterisations” and “incorrect information” in regards to a statement about Saputo reneging.

“Saputo Dairy Australia remains committed to progressing negotiations in good faith to reach an agreement for our valued maintenance workers at our Burnie manufacturing site. Our bargaining team met with the Union this morning and put forward a fair offer. Our intention is to resolve outstanding items with union representatives in a swift and amicable manner.”

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) and the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) are calling for a national boycott of Saputo products such as Devondale, Cracker Barrel, Great Ocean Road, King Island Dairy, Mersey Valley, and Tasmanian Heritage, after Saputo reneged on an in-principal agreement to address pay disparity experienced by Tasmanian workers.

Workers have been advocating to be paid the same as their Victorian colleagues, who recieve 21 per cent more, but on Wednesday, the unions stated that Saputo made a worse pay offer than it made a month ago.

Michael Anderson, CEPU Tasmanian State Secretary, called the move an epic act of industrial bastardry and that Saputo national management has completely disrespected 24 striking workers by making the reduced offer.

“For national management to sit opposite these workers’ representatives last week and claim they wanted to fix parity and now undercut their own offer is pathetic and nasty, which unfortunately for Saputo, will ensure their already crippled Burnie factory will be idle for even longer by their own hand.

“It shows the pure arrogance and disdain for regional workers who dare to ask the company to uphold its own stated values of fairness and equity. We know corporate statements are just branding, but parading themselves as a family friendly company when they do this to workers seeking equity is a disgrace.”

It comes after the leaders of the AMWU and CEPU met with the head of Saputo’s Australian division last Friday where the company committed to fix parity issues of its workers within the company who do the same job.

Mick Wickham, AMWU Tasmanian Organiser, said Saputo has shafted Tasmanian workers with an insulting lowball offer despite multiple remediation steps taken respective to the enterprise bargaining process.

“Supporters of these workers have been encouraging and waiting for the call to ban all Saputo products, but striking workers wanted to give all levels of management a fair chance to do the right thing.

“Tasmanians are no longer the poor cousins. These workers deserve to be paid accordingly to their expertise and the skills they employ in their day-to-day work for Saputo’s production. There should not be a pay gap with the mainland.”

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