Queensland union members have rallied today outside Carlton United Breweries Brisbane headquarters in solidarity with striking workers in Melbourne.
Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said the rally was to show solidarity with 55 sacked CUB workers from the multinational’s Melbourne brewery, and warned the company against attempting similar moves in Queensland.
The dispute started on June 10 when 55 fitters, electricians and maintenance workers backed by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) were told by management that they would be sacked, only to be then “invited” to re-apply for their job through a third-party contractor.
The offer of individual contracts came with no guarantees and would be a barely compliant non-union EBA. The offer was immediately rejected by the workers and their unions, who proceeded to undertake strike action.
Ms McLennan said the Turnbull LNP government’s inaction on the issue showed it danced to the tune played by the big end of town.
“The treatment of these workers is just another disgraceful demonstration of corporate greed and the determination of large corporations like CUB to avoid their obligations through the practice of outsourcing.
“These workers have been exceptionally loyal to CUB with many giving as much as thirty years’ service to the brewery,” said Ms McLennan.
“And what they are receiving in return for their loyalty to the company is a kick in the pants and a take-it-or-leave it offer that slashes their pay and entitlements.
“This is a company now owned by a big multinational company, SAB Miller, with billions of dollars of turnover. They've managed to find a way to pay no tax, while their CEO is in for a million-dollar bonus as they cut workers’ wages to increase profits,” she said.
ETU Organiser Beau Malone said workers from the Yatala CUB plant sympathised with their sacked Abbotsford colleagues, whose treatment has impacted upon their EBA negotiations here in Queensland.
The company’s current proposal to Queensland workers would allow CUB to contract out work currently undertaken by permanent staff at a cheaper rate.
“Because of CUB’s disgraceful treatment of workers at the Abbotsford plant, the current agreement proposed by the company has been knocked back by Yatala workers due to concerns about the lack of job security provisions in the proposal,” he said.
“All workers want stability in their employment, and these members are no different.
“They have seen what has happened to the 55 workers in Abbotsford and they fear they will no longer be able to support their families if the company is allowed to contract out work done by permanent employees here in Queensland.”
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