Union seeks support
The National Union of Workers has formally written to the chief executives of both Murray Goulburn and Saputo.
The NUW have sought assurances that if the sale of MG to Saputo goes through, that union workers will maintain the same working conditions.
As part of the sale announcement, MG informed staff that all employees would be offered employment with Saputo on substantially the same terms and conditions.
The union has sought assurances that:
● The wages and conditions covered in the union workplace agreement and the custom and practice on site form these terms and conditions.
● That this commitment to offer all employees employment with Saputo extend to those sites that until now have been marked for closure — Edith Creek, Rochester and Kiewa.
The union sought further assurance that no other sites are scheduled to be closed as a result of the sale.
The union has also requested to meet Saputo management in November.
National secretary Tim Kennedy said after the announcement in May that MG would close the three factories they sought commitment from chief executive Ari Mervis that these sites would not be mothballed.
‘‘At a meeting with Mr Mervis, delegates from each factory, NUW leadership and the Victorian Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford, that commitment was given,’’ Mr Kennedy said.
‘‘Since that time there have been interested buyers in all three sites.
‘‘With the sale to Saputo looking likely next year, we need to make sure that the three sites slated to close by mid-next year will not be mothballed.
‘‘If Saputo does not have an interest in keeping these open, interested buyers will have the opportunity to keep factories running and provide secure jobs in regional Australia.’’
Mr Kennedy said there were 300 good, secure, union jobs in these towns.
‘‘These jobs support families and contribute to local economies,’’ he said.
‘‘The dairy industry in Australia produces the highest quality cheese, milk and yoghurt with a growing international market.
‘‘Mothballing these factories when other operators are wanting to step in would be a bad idea that would hurt regional communities for generations to come.
‘‘All we’re asking for is that Murray Goulburn keeps the commitment it has already made to workers, the union, State Government and the towns that have supported them for decades, and reaffirm these sites will not be mothballed.’’