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Fonterra - Notice of Limited Industrial Action

November 4, 2008

Media Release

Dairy Workers Union give Fonterra Notice of Limited Industrial Action

Negotiations to renew the Dairy Workers/Fonterra Collective Employment Agreement have broken down after six days of negotiations.

The parties have been unable to agree on the amount of the pay increase and how it is to be made up.

The Dairy Workers Union is seeking a pay increase of 8% for this year and CPI plus 1% for a second year.

Fonterra have offered 5% plus a 2.5% lump sum for this year and CPI plus a 1% lump sum for a second year and CPI plus 1% for a third year.

“While this may appear on the surface that the parties are not far apart, Fonterra have withdrawn the bonus which has been in operation for the last five years and has been worth an extra 2% on average” commented DWU National Secretary James Ritchie.

“So in effect, Fonterra are offering a pay increase less than CPI, and swapping the bonus for a one off lump sum payment for this year only.

“Fonterra’s shareholders have had their best year ever with a payout of $7.90, up 77% on the previous year.”

Workers are looking for their fair share in what has been a bumper year for the industry and are recognising current economic circumstances by putting forward a modest claim for a possible second year of any Agreement,” said Mr Ritchie.

The Union has given 14 days notice of ‘work to rule’ industrial action and workers will not provide cover on their days off for unplanned absences.

“At this stage we are planning very limited action in order to protect the environment and to have minimal financial impact on farmers,” commented Mr Ritchie. “We hope that Fonterra will take a more flexible and reasonable approach when we next meet so that a deal can be struck.”

The dairy industry is an essential industry and the parties are required to attend mediation prior to any action being taken.

“We welcome mediation and will be looking to find an acceptable negotiated settlement when this occurs so that the traditionally good industrial relations in the industry can continue without unnecessary disruption,” said Mr Ritchie.

The DWU has 4500 members covered by this collective agreement, the largest in the industry.

The planned action will commence on 17 November if mediation does not succeed in the parties reaching agreement.


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