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November 25, 2020

Lactalis union deal ends strike at Australia plant

Industrial action at one of the French dairy giant's plants in Australia has come to an end following agreement with worker representatives.

By Dean Best

Industrial action at one of Lactalis’ plants in Australia has come to an end following agreement with worker representatives.

Staff had been on strike at the factory in the south-eastern city of Bendigo for ten days amid a dispute over wages.

Australia’s United Workers Union said a new deal with Lactalis would mean better pay for staff and the hiring of more permanent workers.

Approached by just-food, officials for Lactalis in Australia said the company did not have a statement to make.

The agreement has provided for an average annual increase in wages of more than 6%, the UWU said. “From 1 October 2022, workers will be a minimum of AUD232 (US$171) better off a week, which includes paid meal breaks.” Lactalis will increase the number of permanent staff at the factory by a third, with “close to 30 workers” to move from casual roles, the union added.

“Workers at Lactalis invest a lot in this company and they want it to be reciprocated,” UWU organiser Tom Czech said. “Workers wanted a commitment for Bendigo and they have won. With secure permanent jobs for the future and a commitment that Lactalis will not shut the site, including a AUD20m investment for the Bendigo factory.

Products made at the site include milk, custard and cream sold under brands including Paul Milk and Farmhouse Gold.

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