Hundreds of Cadbury workers in Melbourne will walk out demanding more secure jobs and sweeter pay and conditions from the international chocolate company.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union said about 360 workers across two sites will strike from Friday until early Saturday over delays in converting them from casual to permanent roles.
Some workers have been in casual roles for 10 years and the chocolate giant, which is owned by Mondelez International, is refusing to make them permanent, the union said.
“Chocolate has been one of our core comforts during lockdowns, but it doesn’t taste as sweet when workers aren’t being treated fairly,” AMWU national secretary Steve Murphy said.
“These workers just want certainty and security, but found that working for Cadbury is like a box of chocolates. They never know what they’re going to get.”
Some workers will refuse to work any overtime hours until Monday, as part of the industrial action.
Victorian AMWU secretary Tony Mavromatis said workers are also striking to demand better pay, after keeping Australians stocked up with chocolate during the pandemic.
“These workers aren’t asking for the whole block, they just want their piece,” he said.
A Mondelez International spokeswoman said there will not be any disruption to chocolate supply during the strike.
She said the company has seen its business costs rise due to COVID-19 and disrupted supply chains, and that Cadbury workers have been offered a 9.75 per cent wage rise over four years.
“We believe the wage increase is fair and reasonable in light of ongoing economic challenges, and a desire to ensure sustainable local manufacturing in Australia,” the spokeswoman said.
AAP understands the company has offered workers on seasonal contracts a casual conversion clause.