In a wave of industrial unrest over the weekend, dairy cows at Milk Maid Marian Inc began staging sit ins. On Saturday afternoon, the herd voted not to go into the night paddock until entitlements for the evening shift matched those enjoyed during the day.
An apology and explanation from the employer that the limited volume of dam water could only provide for daytime millet and turnips was enough to move the cows through the gate. But once again faced with the stark reality of honey-coloured pasture, the milkers voted unanimously to reinstate their stop work action.
After threatening to blockade the flow of milk, the cows entered into a fresh round of negotiations with the farmer on Monday.
The new remuneration package includes 6kg of grain pellets during milk harvesting, three hours of access to turnips following the morning milking, five hours of access to freshly irrigated shirohie millet and nightly silage to offset the honey pasture.
Addressing the herd, union secretary Pearlie Girlie said the industrial action was a wake-up call for the dairy sector.
“We understand and appreciate that the dairy sector is facing headwinds,” she said, “but weather conditions are no excuse to cut the living conditions of those at the coal face to unworkable levels.”
“All parties in the supply chain need to bear their fair share of the risk. In fact, those with the deepest pockets have the greatest responsibility to shoulder the load.
“Those who choose to ignore this fundamental truth will see production fall accordingly.”