The CBD will today (8 Sept) come to a standstill as thousands of people march in support of the 55 maintenance workers at Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) who were sacked and then offered to reapply for their jobs, but under an illegitimate agreement[i] with massive cuts to their wages and conditions.
The CUB 55 along with thousands of supporters will first rally outside AFL House, Docklands, calling on the AFL to condemn the disgraceful behaviour of CUB towards their workers, and to treat their workers with the respect they deserve.
The crowd will call on the AFL to urge CUB, one of its major sponsors, to meet with the sacked 55 and to re-employ these workers immediately at full wages and conditions, or face a CUB beer-free footy finals season.
The community rally will then make its way up along Bourke Street and reconvene at Parliament House, where it will call on the State and Federal Governments to fix the labour hire industry to better protect Australian workers.
CUB’s labour hire contractor, Programmed, last week cancelled its contract with CUB, citing health and safety concerns and an inability to work with CUB. But the workers remain outside the gates of CUB at their community picket where they have been protesting since they were sacked 13 weeks ago, and will remain protesting until they are reinstated at the brewery at the wages and conditions that were agreed less than a year ago.
Luke Hilakari, Secretary Victorian Trades Hall Council “Victorians are taking action against the callous, unethical management at CUB, and their disgraceful treatment of the people who maintain their brewery. We see this pattern of behaviour everywhere; short-sighted middle managers contracting out jobs to labour hire, a workforce and their families thrown on the scrapheap, all for more profits sent overseas. CUB should know better.”
Steve Dargavel, AMWU State Secretary “CUB used to be the beer of working people, enjoyed at the game of working people. But CUB has turned its back on its own workers and there is now a real risk that there will be a shortage of beer for the upcoming footy finals. These problems at the brewery have been created solely by CUB and we call on their management to sober up and stop the attacks on the workers’ wages, conditions, and jobs,”
Troy Gray, Secretary of ETU Victoria “The support for the sacked CUB workers from the community is overwhelming. It speaks volumes about how the community feels about the bastard tactics being used by too many employers. That CUB, an iconic Australian workers’ beer, can pull such un-Australian tactics against its own workers, has sent a shudder of fear and fury across the country. The CUB 55 are, and all working Australians should be, extremely heartened by this rally’s show of support for the fair treatment of workers. ‘Touch one, touch all’ is a sentiment not lost on Victorian workers. ”
March in support of the CUB 55 – 11am Thursday 8th September
AFL House, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands
Marching to Parliament House, Spring St
Spokespeople will be available to the media at Parliament House, at the conclusion of the rally.
[i] For background on the illegitimacy of the Agreement see: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/battle-of-the-brewery/7792416