Published: 03/02/2017

In recent years local and transnational companies have been challenging the local mega cooperative Fonterra’s dominance in sourcing and processing New Zealand milk. Prominent among the new entrants are Danone and two Chinese companies Yili and Yashili(Mengniu). Danone has a sizable stake in Mengniu.

The IUF affiliate, the NZ Dairy Workers Union, has been successful in its strategy to organize workers who work for new employers in their industry and now has members and collective bargaining agreements with Danone, Yili and Yashili as well as with some new smaller domestic companies.

As the union grows it has been changing its internal structures to enhance representation. Structures to enhance the role of women members and members who are part of New Zealand’s indigenous (Maori) and Pacific Island communities have been in place for more than 15 years. The union is now moving to ensure that its governing body also reflects a membership that is employed by the wide range of companies operating in the dairy sector.