The BWI is supporting the struggle of 55 maintenance workers at Carlton United Breweries (CUB), members of BWI-affiliate the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and our partner the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU). On 10 June the workers were unceremoniously sacked by CUB, while secretly-recruited temporary workers that were flown in from out of state and bussed to the worksite behind blackened windows. The so-called #CUB55 workers were then offered their jobs back on a non-union agreement with a 65% pay cut.
“The treatment of these workers is simply appalling and BWI is throwing its full support behind them,” said BWI General-Secretary Ambet Yuson, “We are demanding the reinstatement of the #CUB55, on the pay and conditions in their previous collective agreement."
"Its horrifying that workers can be seen as so disposable, and what’s worse is that nothing that has been done by CUB, or the labour contractor ‘Programmed’ that sits at the centre of this dispute, is in breach of current labour Australian law," Yuson continued. "This has got to change.”
In 2011 CUB’s parent Fosters was acquired by beverage giant SAB Miller headquartered in London, United Kingdom. CUB have already used labour hire practices to cut its permanent workforce down to the current 55 workers to cover its 24-7 operations. SAB Miller is now in the process of being merged with AB InBev to create the biggest brewery conglomerate in the world, selling one in three beers drunk globally.
The fact that these 55 workers are willing to stand up to this enormous corporate giant is inspiring. So what can you do to help? 1.8 million Australians have already signed up to boycott many of their favourite beers in solidarity with the #CUB55, and current reports indicate that the volume of production has fallen from 1.1 million cases per week to only 400,000. Over 5000 CUB-free BBQs have already been organised by union members across Australia in time for the NRL (Rugby League) Grand Finals.
To support the #CUB55 workers you can do the following:
3. Send a protest letter CUB's General Manager Southern Operations Gary Woodburn at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know how you feel.