By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
Carlton and United pulled a pretty shifty move on staff at its Abbotsford brewery in June.
The company simply up and said its maintenance contract had changed hands, so 54 people were sacked on the spot and offered their jobs back by the new maintenance contractor for what the workers say would amount to 65% less in their pay packets.
Their union has called on the newly barely formed Turnbull Government to speak up and tell the people if this is an acceptable way for big business to treat workers, or if it’s simply the new norm.
The workers have maintained a picket line outside the brewery as freelance labour is bussed in each day to perform their old jobs. Needless to say, it’s a huge financial strain on them – meanwhile, CEO of Carlton and United’s parent firm SABMiller, Alan Clark, is in line to be paid over $60 million this year. What, him worry?
Parker (drums/vocals) from Melbourne punk band Blind Man Death Stare works around the corner from the brewery and has met some of those affected.
“I’ve rallied at the picket line every Thursday for the past eight weeks,” he says. “I knew the guys’ need money, not only for their families but to stay on the picket line, so I thought putting on a fundraiser for free would be an appropriate idea.”
Hence Carlton Drought Relief, a free fundraiser for the sacked workers. It’s on August 18 at The Bendigo in Collingwood, and the pub have generously offered to give a split from the bar takings from the night to the displaced workers – so drink to donate!
UB shares a lemonade with Parker…
What has gone on with C&UB at Abbotsford and its maintenance workforce?
Recently 55 workers were sacked from C&UB without warning. Then they were offered their jobs back, but at a 65% pay cut. Same job, less money, no reason. Some of the workers had worked at the brewery for over 40 years. Loyalty means nothing, it appears. And it’s not like C&UB are short of coin; the CEO pocketed $6.2mil this year. Bit bloody rich.
How do things stand at present?
As it stands, the workers haven’t been reinstated. C&UB can’t keep up their production rate. In the past eight weeks production has more than halved, from over one million kegs a week to only 400,000. So there is a Carlton Drought occurring as we speak. There has been a picket line set up at the brewery in Abbotsford. Rain, hail or shine, there is mass amount of support from the community and unions. The different trade unions have united across Australia and are fully behind them, raising money and awareness. The community is outraged and this disgraceful situation was televised on The Project. The only resolve is for the workers to be reinstated. There is no backing down. If C&UB walk over their loyal workers then other businesses will follow suit and everyone will be working for peanuts. People already working for peanuts will be working for nothing at all. Fuck that.
Have you been personally affected? How did you get involved in helping out?
I certainly have personal interest, I think everyone has personal interest and is in some way affected by this issue. As I mentioned above, this win for C&UB is more than a win for them. It opens the door for other businesses to do the same to their workers and it is in no way fair. Everyone’s entitled to fair working conditions, decent wage and a solid job. I am a tradie and a punk rocker. I am a union member and work at a job site around the corner from the C&UB brewery in Abottsford. I’ve rallied at the picket line every Thursday for the past eight weeks. I knew the guys’ need money, not only for their families but to stay on the picket line, so I thought putting on a fundraiser for free would be an appropriate idea. So I asked a few bands and got a bunch of legends who are willing to donate their time and services to raise money and awareness.
What’s the plan for your Drought Relief fundraiser?
The goal is to raise money for the displaced workers by donating what you can and by simply eating and drinking. It’s a FREE SHOW at the Bendigo Hotel on Thursday, August 18. No door charge, just a donation jar, and all proceeds go to the workers. Also, the lovely people at the Bendigo Hotel are giving a percentage off the bar, so the more you drink, alcoholic or not, the more money is raised.
The poster says punters should drink lots of C&UB – isn’t that just likely to just make the company richer?
Sorry for the confusion. It says “C&UB are running out of beer so the plan is to drink up”. Meaning, drink up at The Bendigo. Drink the place dry. From lemonade to tequila to beer and wine! If you’re gonna drink C&UB products, drink ’em after everything else is gone! I mean everything. Otherwise, boycott the fuckers.
Carlton Drought Relief is on August 18 at the Bendigo Hotel – 125 Johnston St, Collingwood. On the bill is Blind Man Death Stare, Grim Rhythm, Australian Kingswood Factory, Keggin, Drexler, Simon Wilson.