AUSVEG statement on Industrial action and potential implications on Australia’s food supply
28 June 2023
AUSVEG is aware of an ongoing negotiation process taking place between a Victorian vegetable grower and its workforce regarding the establishment of an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, which has unfortunately escalated to industrial action.
AUSVEG understands that the business has operated in good faith throughout the negotiation process, but cannot comment specifically on this matter as it is an ongoing negotiation.
“Industrial strike actions of this nature have potentially serious ramifications for the broader fresh produce supply chain and could endanger Australia’s food supply,” said AUSVEG CEO Michael Coote.
“Workers are our industry’s number one asset, and we respect their right to advocate for their interests and wellbeing. However, it is concerning when union activities interrupt fresh produce business operations. These actions could jeopardise the food supply chain and lead to higher prices and reduced supply of fresh produce to Australian families.
“Vegetable production is a national industry that comprises thousands of small-, medium- and large-sized businesses that employ over 60,000 workers, not to mention the tens of thousands of additional jobs through the supply chain,” said Mr Coote.
“Vegetable growers currently operate in a highly complex Industrial Relations environment. They are navigating a continually evolving landscape, juggling rising production costs and constant pressure from buyers to accept lower prices for their produce.
“Simultaneously, Australian consumers are grappling with rising cost of living and food inflation. They cannot afford higher food prices resulting from reduced produce supply from this type of action.
In light of the increasingly complex and ever-changing Industrial Relations landscape, AUSVEG strongly advises all growers to engage with Industrial Relations experts for independent advice regarding their workforce.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shaun Lindhe, National Manager – Communications, AUSVEG
Mobile: 0405 977 789, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org