A war of words has erupted over a strike by of maintenance workers at the Burnie facility of multi-national dairy processor Saputo.
Strike claims heat up dispute

A war of words has erupted over a strike by of maintenance workers at the Burnie facility of multi-national dairy processor Saputo.

Maintenance workers have been on strike for almost a month over a wage parity dispute.

The workers say they’re paid 21 per cent less than mainland Saputo employees doing the same job and have called for a national boycott of Saputo products including Mersey Valley, Tasmanian Heritage, South Cape and Devondale to name a few.

Braddon Federal Liberal MP Gavin Pearce says unions and workers are going about their dispute the wrong way.

Mr says a boycott will hurt Saputo’s 450 Tasmanian employees, including 240 on the North-West Coast and 130 suppliers in the region who produce around 300 million litres of milk a year.

He says their livelihoods put on the line by union thugs pulling s cheap political stunt and he’s urging consumers to ignore the boycott.

However, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Tasmanian state organiser Mike Wickham says Mr Pearce has no idea of industrial relations.

Mr Wickham says it’s inappropriate for the Member for Braddon to be supporting a multi-national company over local workers.

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