Unions threat to ramp up Murray Goulburn dispute

UNIONS in dispute with milk processor Murray Goulburn over pay and conditions are planning to ramp up industrial action.

Delegates of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Electrical Trades Union decided in a telephone link-up on Wednesday to take further action, including 24-hour stoppages if necessary.

“The members are very focused on this and they’re keen to ramp up their action,” AMWU south-west organiser Mark Solly said.

“We don’t want to flag up when the stoppages will occur but they will be in the peak of the production season when they will have most effect,” Mr Solly said. “Our members don’t like taking pain if it doesn’t have an affect, so we will time the stoppages accordingly.”

The two unions represent about 110 maintenance workers at Murray Goulburn’s six Victorian factories, including about a dozen at Koroit.

In dispute are redundancy provisions for new workers, recruitment levels of local apprentices and relativity payments for workers moving to higher skill levels.

The company and unions have already agreed on an overall 3.5 per cent pay increase.

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

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