Australian consumers are being urged to join a boycott of some of the nation’s most popular beers in solidarity with Melbourne maintenance workers made redundant.
The dispute between beer giant Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) and former workers at its Abbottsford brewery in Melbourne – which as of Friday is in its 57th day – is spreading beyond Victoria to Queensland and New South Wales.
A spokesman for the Victorian branch of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) told The New Daily the boycott movement was growing “organically” through a social media campaign.
“For anyone drinking a CUB beer or cider, just consider, ‘Do you think it’s fair the company has sacked 55 workers and forced them to reapply?'” AWMU assistant state secretary Craig Kelly said.
55 highly skilled maintenance workers have been sacked from Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) and offered their jobs back with just 65% of their pay. In this video Chris Bowden talks about the impact on the workers and their families and their determination to stand firm in the face of corporate thuggery.The workers have established a community protest outside the brewery in Southampton Crescent, Abbotsford where they intend to remain until they get their jobs back. You can show your support for the CUB workers:- Send the company a message here: https://www.iufcampaigns.org/campaigns/show_campaign.cgi?c=1002- Make a donation to the fighting fund here: https://www.gofundme.com/CUBworkersAMWU – Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union AMWU VictoriaUnited VoiceUnited Voice VictoriaVictorian Trades Hall CouncilAustralian UnionsAdam BandtETU – the Electrical Trades UnionCFMEU Vic-Tas
Posted by Electrical Trades Union of Australia, Victorian Branch on 2016年7月7日
Several pubs across the nation – including The Lincoln, the Kent Street Bar and The Raccoon Bar in Melbourne, and the Grand Hotel Yamanto and Cecil Hotel in Queensland – have joined the protest by refusing to serve CUB beers on tap.
The dispute began in June when CUB formally terminated a machine maintenance contract with labour hire company Quant. The 55 fitters and electricians employed under the contact were made redundant and then invited to reapply for 42 roles with another contractor, Programmer.
Unions claim the remuneration packages offered by the new contractor are 65 per cent lower than the workers’ original contracts. CUB denies this.
Unions also claim the dispute is connected to the fact that CUB’s parent company, SABMiller, is being taken over by Anheuser-Busch InBev. SABMiller is undertaking a global push to de-unionise and casualise their workforce, the unions claim. CUB also denies this.
CUB says it informed the contractor, employees and unions in January that the Quant contract would cease in July, and that an unspecified number of the original 55 workers have already signed new contracts with Programmed. It also accuses picketing unions of threatening ‘scab’ workers.
“Unions have been aggressively targeting CUB and its brands over the last few weeks trying to enforce their terms and conditions on an independent contractor which provides workers to CUB,” a company spokesperson told The New Daily.
“CUB acknowledges that any change of contract or commercial decision can impact people and their families, which is why the previous contractor and their employees were told six months ago that their contract would end. All entitlements were paid by the contractor, including redundancies, pay in lieu of notice and leave entitlements.”
The dispute has an even longer history. The contract with Quant dates back seven years, when CUB cut its permanent workforce by 50 per cent, from 110 to 55, and switched to a labour hire, rather than direct employment, model for its maintenance workforce.
A number of warehouse and forklift drivers remain employed at the Melbourne brewery.