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Strike action threatens already dwindling canned food supply

Canned good supply shortages caused by coronavirus panic buying may be about to get worse.

Workers at SPC’s Shepparton processing plant will walk off the job tomorrow and on Monday as part of an ongoing union dispute.

The stop work coincides with a large delivery of tomatoes which will spoil if not quickly processed.

SPC has taken aim at the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) for its refusal to reschedule the industrial action.

“We’re right in the middle of our tomato season at the moment, so this action could potentially affect a million cans of tomatoes,” SPC CEO Rob Giles told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“All we’re asking for is for them to hold off the action until consumers are confident we can supply.

“We’ve got a commitment to the farmers to take their fruit and we’ve got this panic buying in the market because of coronavirus.”

Mr Giles said although the focus has been on toilet roll shortages, supplies of non-perishable goods are also dwindling.

“I know the focus has been on toilet rolls but if you look at the canned tomato section or the canned baked beans section they’re just as empty,” he said.

The SPC strike comes as part of failed enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations between the company and the AMWU which began in August.

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