Lion Dairy & Drinks, a subsidiary of the global beverage conglomerate Kirin Holdings, recently reached a new enterprise agreement with its workforce, bringing an end to a long and at times confrontational negotiation process.
The agreement covers over 2,200 employees across Lion’s dairy processing facilities, distribution centers, and administration offices throughout Australia. It will provide them with annual pay increases, improved job security, and flexibility measures to help them balance work and family commitments.
The negotiation process took over a year, with workers expressing dissatisfaction with the initial offer from Lion. They organized several rallies and work stoppages in protest, causing disruptions to the supply of dairy products to supermarkets and restaurants.
The workers’ demands included better pay and conditions, increased job security, and protection of their working hours. They also sought to address concerns around the use of labor hire workers in the industry.
The agreement that has been reached is seen as a positive outcome for both workers and management. It provides wage increases of 2.5% per year for the next three years, along with improved redundancy and redeployment provisions, and stronger rights for flexible working arrangements.
The new agreement also sets guidelines for the use of labor hire staff, including requirements for training and consultation with the union and employees. This is a significant win for workers, who have been advocating for greater protections against the exploitation of casual and temporary staff.
In addition to these provisions, the agreement also includes measures to support workers’ mental health and well-being, such as access to counseling services and initiatives to promote work-life balance.
Overall, the new enterprise agreement represents a significant achievement for the Lion Dairy & Drinks workforce and the union that represents them. The agreement acknowledges the invaluable contributions made by these workers in keeping the dairy industry running, and seeks to provide them with a fair and dignified work environment.
As consumers, we should support this progress by choosing to buy products that are ethically produced and support fair labor practices. By doing so, we can help create a more just and equitable society for all.