Australia : Coles shelves empty as Vic strike goes on
Supermarket shelves have been stripped bare and the fruit and vegetable supply chain has ground to a halt as cold-storage warehouse workers strike in Victoria.
More than 600 Polar Fresh workers
are picketing outside the Truganina warehouse, as the union negotiates a pay agreement with the company.
The strike began on Tuesday and National Union of Workers spokeswoman Emma Kerin says the strike action could continue over the weekend if both parties can't agree on a deal.
Werribee farmer John Said says the Coles supermarket giant wasn't the only one affected by the strike action and Victorian farmers could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars because truckloads of produce were being turned away.
"The whole supply chain has ground to a halt. We've had to stop harvesting and to send workers home," Mr Said told AAP today.
"It's an ongoing nightmare and could take another three to four days to get back up and running once it's all sorted."
Mr Said, whose company Fresh Select supplies the supermarket nationally, says he understands the concerns of workers but the parties should be able to discuss the matter behind closed doors without affecting others.
Coles and Polar Fresh on Tuesday applied for court orders against the union over the strike.
Justice Michael McDonald ordered the workers to stop the picket action by midday Thursday at the latest, and the matter would be revisited on Monday.
Ms Kerin said union officials met company representatives for eight hours on Thursday and would return to the negotiating table on Friday.
A Coles spokesman said some deliveries had been disrupted due to the union action, but deliveries were starting to flow through to stores again thanks to a court injunction stopping picketing at contingency sites.
"We are working hard to ensure all products are on shelf as soon as possible," the spokesman said.
© AAP 2016
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