Spitting chips over European threat to Tasmanian jobs

North-West Tasmanian workers and farmers are set to rally and urge the federal government to stop a potential flood of European chips they fear could cost many local jobs.

Fears are building heavily subsidised potato chips not needed in Europe because of the coronavirus lockdown will flood or be dumped into the Australian market, undercutting Australian product.

Some might say that, but coming out of this pandemic, the push to build local, buy local and employ local is very high on everybody's agenda.

Mike Wickham

"We are saying it's an inferior and cheaper product that puts Australian jobs and manufacturing at risk," Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union organiser Mike Wickham said.

The union-organised rally will be at the McCain chip factory at Smithton at 11am on Friday, with another at the same time at McCain in Ballarat.

Mr Wickham said the union was looking to have workers, farmers, truck drivers and community members involved.

When asked if the union was pushing protectionism and opposing lower prices, he said: "Some might say that, but coming out of this pandemic, the push to build local, buy local and employ local is very high on everybody's agenda."

Picture: Paul Scambler.

Picture: Paul Scambler.

"What we are doing is getting out to the (federal) government that they need to oppose the dumping of European fries into the Australian market.

"The dumping of those lesser quality and below average weight fries potentially puts at risk the employment of local manufacturers and their employees."

He said the dumping - or flooding if it did not meet the legal definition of dumping - was not confirmed, but "it looks like that is what they want to occur".

Tasmanian potato growers and AUSVEG have also expressed concern.

AUSVEG said it, with support of processors McCain Foods and Simplot, wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other MPs and ministers raising concerns.

"AUSVEG has, and is continuing to, investigate processes via the Anti-Dumping Commission and the International Trade Remedies Advisory Service as avenues to address this issue," it said.

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This story Rally to spit chips over European threat to Tasmanian jobs first appeared on The Advocate.