Murray Goulburn workers and unions up for the fight

By Country News on May 16, 2017
  • Murray Goulburn workers and unions up for the fight

    Murray Goulburn staff and National Union of Workers officials stand together ready to fight for their jobs at the co-operative's Rochester plant.

Murray Goulburn workers and union officials are ready to fight following the news the Rochester factory will close next year.

In a mass meeting last Wednesday, workers and union officials had an emotion-fuelled discussion about the news.

Many of the workers have been employed by the dairy giant for multiple years, with some working alongside their children.

National Union of Workers regional organiser Mark Schmidt said the news really sunk in during the meeting.

‘‘There were a lot of emotional stories told about what it means for each individual worker and the impact it will have on the wider community,’’ Mr Schmidt said.

‘‘Most of the workers have family who work casually in other smaller businesses in town and they will lose out too if they move for employment once the factory is closed.

‘‘There is just a lot of frustration because whenever the company has been in trouble it has been these workers who have cut down their hours to accommodate the company.

‘‘And then they go and do this; it isn’t fair on the workers.

‘‘We have to fight to keep this factory here and that is what we will do.’’

Ray McCaig has been working at the Rochester plant on and off for 17 years and said the community would be impacted the most.

‘‘It has been good to us and good to the community but it has come to this,’’ he said.

‘‘Most of us have young families in town who all put a lot of money back into the community and they will be devastated.

‘‘Those in their late 50s and 60s, finding another job will be very hard.’’

Mr McCaig said he was simply asking Murray Goulburn to look after the people who have looked after them.

‘‘Don’t put the factory into disarray,’’ he said.

‘‘The community needs the factory and needs another industry in town so we can’t afford to lose it completely.’’

Mark Dunstan works at the factory with his 21-year-old son and shares the concerns that the community will be hurt.

‘‘We don’t know what is going to happen to us but our main concern is that it will impact heavily on the community,’’ Mr Dunstan said.

‘‘We are just after transparency (from Murray Goulburn). Let us know where we are going and what is going on.

‘‘It would be nice to have a future here.’’

—Vivienne Duck.

By Country News on May 16, 2017

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