An announcement by Coles Supermarkets that it will source its entire line of frozen vegetables from Simplot in Tasmania has been welcomed by the AMWU.
As of May, all 30 lines in the Coles brand frozen vegetable range will be packed by Simplot at the Ulverstone and Devonport plants.
AMWU Tasmanian Secretary John Short said the announcement was a step in the right direction.
“It will hopefully secure all the permanent workforce and may lead to more people being employed in the long term.
“Simplot is crucial to the northern Tasmanian region. They have a very committed and highly skilled workforce in those plants. They have the best processing conditions, very high hygiene and product standards. That can’t be said for overseas suppliers.”
Mr Short said the new deal showed supermarkets were listening to the AMWU’s food industry campaign.
“The AMWU has been lobbying in Federal Parliament to ensure the future of the food industry in Australia. We’ve sent delegates from Simplot to Canberra in recent months to lobby on behalf of our members and obviously their voices have not gone unheard. The campaign is clearly having an affect.”
AMWU delegate and food production worker Leigh Monson, a member of the delegation to Canberra said he was pleased more attention was being placed on Australia’s food manufacturing sector.
“There is a lot more awareness from the retailers, they’re starting to listen to the consumers, who want Australian made products.
“However we need more business. Coles is just one of the major retailers in Australia. This is a good start but it’s also important than other retailers get on board and commit to the Tassie food industry.”