More than 100 workers have downed tools at Kiewa's Saputo dairy plant in the first industrial action at the site in 20 years.
The workers were part of a Victoria-wide strike of 1400 workers from four companies demanding improved wages and working conditions.
The 48-hour protest was organised at Kiewa in "shifts" of protesters, with about 40 workers from the 107 striking United Workers Union members kicking off the industrial action at 6am on Wednesday, October 18.
Andrew "Snags" Cameron, who has worked at the plant for 25 years, had been on the picket line since 6am.
"All we want is a fair wage increase, plus they're trying to take conditions off us - we just want a fair go, you know, the cost of living's up, petrol's up, everything's up," Mr Cameron said.
"This is the biggest industrial action I've ever seen here and the biggest in Victoria's dairy industry."
Coolroom worker Craig Beard, who has been with the company for seven and a half years, arrived at the site at 5am.
"We got here to set up and then the guys knocked off at 6am and joined us," he said. "I understand this is the first time milk has stood still in Victoria.
"With the amount of companies and sites involved and the 1400 members out, it's the biggest one ever.
"It's not anger, it's more frustration than anger, we've got nothing against these guys but at the last meeting they gave us an offer that we rejected and they walked away - they just don't want to listen.
"It will hurt production but the farmers are still getting milk picked up and still getting paid."
Saputo was committed to resolving outstanding items with union representatives "amicably and swiftly", operations director Gerard Lourey said.
The company is also putting contingency measures in place to minimise disruptions.
United Workers Union organiser Mark Schmidt, speaking outside the site, said another meeting with management had been booked in a week's time.
"I think it's been over 20 years since this site's taking action and even longer for anything as this sort of scale.
"I don't think management thought it was going to happen - now that it's happened, I think that'll go a long way to negotiations and they'll obviously feel a lot of pain over these 48 hours.
"It'll hopefully bring them back in with more of a positive attitude to try and reach an agreement.
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"We're basically asking for a 5 per cent per year increase over three years and there are a couple of other conditions that they're trying to strip back from the workers, like around their personal leave arrangements.
"They've had years and years of getting 2 per cent wage increases and the company is asking them to accept that."
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