Workers at the Lactalis Dairy factory in Bendigo are essential workers that have kept supermarket shelves stocked with the fresh dairy products they make throughout the global pandemic
Yesterday afternoon, workers voted to accept an improved company offer after 10 days on strike. Over a 2 year and 9-month period workers have won an average annual increase of 6.47%. From October 1, 2022 workers will be a minimum of $232 better off a week, which includes paid meal breaks.
The permanent headcount at the Bendigo factory will increase by a third, with close to 30 workers set to transition from insecure casual work to a job they can count on. Workers also wanted to ensure secure permanent jobs would be there for new workers in the future and have won a conversion clause that guarantees permanent jobs for the next generations to come.
Workers have been calling for Lactalis, the world’s biggest dairy company, to make a commitment to their town. “Workers at Lactalis invest a lot in this company and they want it to be reciprocated,” said UWU Organiser Tom Czech. “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 $20 million investment for the Bendigo factory.
“Workers are feeling good today. They stood united and there was so much community support. The people of Bendigo brought food and firewood to the striking workers and even put up placards in their front lawns. This is a win for the whole community.” Mr Czech said.
Products made at the Lactalis Bendigo site include; Paul Milk custard and sour cream, Farmhouse and Farmhouse Gold premium brands, Ice Break ice coffee, Zymil lactose-free milk, Vaalia Yoghurt and Macro Organic.