FURTHER steps have been taken to ensure the Rochester Murray Goulburn factory does not sit empty.
The National Union of Workers, which represents MG workers, has formally written to the chief executives of both Murray Goulburn and Saputo seeking assurances if the deal goes through.
The NUW is seeking a promise that if the sale of MG goes through the union workers will maintain the same work conditions and the Rochester factory will not be mothballed.
As part of the announcement, MG informed staff that all employees would be offered employment with Saputo on substantially the same terms and conditions.
The union has sought assurances that:
■The wages and conditions covered in the union workplace agreement and the custom and practice on site form these terms and conditions.
■That this commitment to offer all employees employment with Saputo extend to those sites that until now have been marked for closure.
They also sought further assurance that no other sites are scheduled to be closed as a result of the sale. The union has also requested to meet Saputo management in November.
National secretary Tim Kennedy said after the announcement in May that MG would close the three factories they sought commitment from chief executive Ari Mervis that these sites would not be forgotten.
‘‘At a meeting with Mr Mervis, delegates from each factory, NUW leadership and the Victorian Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford, that commitment was given,’’ he said.
‘‘Since that time there have been interested buyers in all three sites.
‘‘With the sale of Saputo looking likely next year, we need to make sure that the three sites slated to close by mid-next year will not be mothballed.
‘‘If Saputo does not have an interest in keeping these open, interested buyers will have the opportunity to keep factories running and provide secure jobs in regional Australia.’’
Mr Kennedy said there are 300 good, secure, union jobs in these towns.
‘‘These jobs support families and contribute to local economies,’’ he said.
‘‘All we’re asking for is that Murray Goulburn keeps the commitment it has already made to workers, the union, state government and the towns that have supported them for decades, and reaffirm these sites will not be mothballed.’’