About 350 McCains workers will walk off the job on Wednesday amid claims by the union its members are being denied requests for holidays made months in advance.
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union alleges their members are being denied annual leave requests made as early as three to eight months in advance, under staffing and a dearth of shifts for the factory’s 100 plus casual workforce.
Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations have been on going between the union and McCains since May.
“We’re currently going through a dispute with Fair Work where one worker applied for leave eight months in advance and the company said no,” AMWU’s Angela McCarthy said.
“They're treating their annual leave which is an entitlement as a privilege which is ridiculous, they’ve cut manning levels back so much on shift that we’ve got supervisors doing production work.”
McCains has sent out notices inviting staff to work the Wednesday shifts, with staggered stoppages starting as of Tuesday morning.
Ms McCarthy said McCains casual workforce could “easily” cover employees on annual leave however some casual workers were reporting being without shifts for one to two weeks at a time.
There were also concerns that the contracting out of work would spread, which currently only affects a small number of employees.
McCains’ potato products plant manager Karl Thin said contingency plans would ensure the McCain Foods’ supply chain went on uninterrupted.
Mr Thin said the company “will not negotiate via media”.
A conference will be held at the Fair Work Commission on Friday.
“We continue to negotiate with the union and employees in good faith,” he said.
“Any protected action is obviously challenging and we urge employees to keep any action to a minimum, so we can continue to supply our customers.”