Production at Heinz’ Golden Circle juice plant at Mill Park in Melbourne came to a standstill on Thursday after workers held a strike and walked off the job.
According to a report on ABC, the union says the workers, who are set to lose their jobs once the plant closes this year, are taking protected industrial industrial action to secure a better redundancy payout.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union’s regional secretary for the food and confectionary division, Tom Hale, said it is not yet determined until when the strike will continue.
“Until we start talking, and the company is currently refusing to talk, then it’s very hard to solve something if you don’t talk to people,” Mr Hale said.
Citrus Australia CEO Judith Damiani said the industrial dispute and the impending closure of the plant are causing worry among the growers.
“I think everyone is a little bit anxious about the future of Australian manufacturing at the moment, so we really want to work closely with our juice manufacturers to make sure that continues and our supply can continue and consumers can still enjoy fresh Australian juice,” Ms Damiani said.
“It’s very important for our juice growers to continue those relationships they have with them.”
NSW Riverina grower Michael Nardi says he has lots of fruits stocked in bins but does not know how to get it to the processor.
“It’s been picked for about four days, five days. We’re lucky that it’s cool and it might hold out, but if it keeps going like this, if they keep striking, if they don’t take any at the end of this week, the fruit will end up getting tipped out,” he said.