The union movement has vowed to hold weekly rallies outside the Melbourne headquarters of Carlton United Breweries (CUB) in support of 54 sacked maintenance workers.
As reported by the Guardian, last month the workers from CUB’s Abbotsford brewery were told their jobs had been re-contracted to a new service subcontractor, Programmed-Skilled Maintenance, and that they would have to reapply to keep them.
However, the new contracts did not include the conditions of the previous contracts and involved pay cuts of up to 65 per cent. They refused and now find themselves unemployed.
AMWU member Peter Kerr-Chapman said workers realised this issue went beyond CUB and brewing to the wage standards of skilled maintenance workers across manufacturing.
“If CUB get away with this, it wouldn’t be good for anyone,” he said.
“Manufacturing is already in a rough spot and the last thing we need are employers sacking people to wind back conditions won over many decades.”
CUB, which is controlled by South African multinational SABMiller, claims to have no direct contractual relationship with the sacked workers. The issue of pay and conditions, it says, is the responsibility of the new subcontractor.
The rallies involve AMWU and ETU members along with supporters from other unions.