MG, unions at stalemate in dispute

UNION delegates representing maintenance staff at Murray Goulburn’s six Victorian sites will decide on Tuesday their next move in a dispute with the co-operative over conditions.

“We had a hook-up this morning and some sites wanted to ramp up action but others want to wait,” Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) south-west regional organiser Mark Solly said on Friday.

“We will talk again on Tuesday. 

“One of the options is to delay action until milk production ramps up so the effect would be greater.”

The AMWU and Electrical Trades Union are in dispute with the company over pay and conditions.

Murray Goulburn has agreed to the unions’ pay demand of 3.5 per cent, but agreement has not been reached on redundancy provisions for new workers, recruitment of local apprentices and relativity payments.

“We not far apart on the pay — it’s the relativity payments that we have yet to settle,” Mr Solly said.

Relativity payments are the incremental pay rises for working at higher skill levels.

Meanwhile, workers have highlighted massive salary increases for company executives as a contrast to what is being offered to workers.

Notices were posted at a number of factories this week detailing the increases awarded to managing director Gary Helou and other senior executives during the 2012-13 financial year.

The information, freely available in the co-operative’s annual reports, shows that Mr Helou enjoyed total remuneration of $1.48 million for the nine months he was in change during the 2011-12 fiscal year, a rate of $1.97 million per annum.

This increased to $2.84 million in the 2012-13 year, a hike of 44 per cent.

Overall executive remuneration increased by 32 per cent year-on-year.

“They’re crying poor but that’s hardly reflected in these executive salary increases,” Mr Solly said.

The dispute involves about 110 maintenance staff at Murray Goulburn’s six Victorian sites, including about a dozen at Koroit.

The unions have already taken protected industrial action twice on the issues, including a 24-hour stopwork on July 4.

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