Workers at Abbottsford Brewery are insisting on work trials to prove the safety of planned new work practices that if introduced, will result in 19 redundancies.
A meeting of workers today condemned Carlton and United Breweries for trying to rush through changes to the handling and movement of beer products at the site. They voted not to accept any redundancies until a proper trial proves the new logistics systems are safe and achievable.
They also expressed concern at CUB’s plan to slash 11 jobs from its brewing and quality control sections.
The highly mechanised site is a potentially deadly workplace where changes must be implemented with extreme care and with safety as the highest priority, said United Voice secretary Jess Walsh.
“We are worried by the company’s haste to force redundancies without proper thought for how the site will run in future,” said Walsh. “Any changes to processes and practices need to be carefully controlled to ensure they are safe and will not result in injury or death.
“Our members are entitled to work trials and they are going to have them. We want to ensure that these changes are done in a proper, safe and controlled manner.”
CUB is seeking to introduce the changes to its logistics following a review of the movement of vehicles entering the site around which about 3000 residential units have been, or are in the process of being built.
Walsh said United Voice understood the need for the company to review management of its operations in the context of surrounding development.
But she added that the union was disappointed with the way CUB had run to the Fair Work Commission alleging that the union was unreasonably withholding consent to the changes.
“Since when is looking out for the safety of individuals at work unreasonable? The company seems to want to play fast and loose with these changes, but the consequences have to be properly understood,” said Walsh.
“Our members will not accept any compromise to safety standards. They want to keep the CUB brands as Australia’s favourite beers, but not at the expense of safety.”
United Voice is a broad-based union comprised of service industry members in the early childcare education, ambulance, security, cleaning, hospitality, manufacturing and beverage industries. Together they are the backbone of our community.
Resolved to stand together
Job security is a major concern for workers at CUB's Abbotsford brewery, lead union delegate Dominic Fountain(pictured) said following a resounding display of unity in the face of company moves towards redundancies.
In a unanimous vote workers declared their opposition to individuals stepping up to supervisory roles while preparations were underway to axe 30 jobs.
“It was made loud and clear at the meeting that due to the large number of targeted redundancies we are not going to take on these supervisory positions.
“What happens is CUB transfers production interstate and announces redundancies at Abbotsford supposedly because of lower production,” said Dominic.
“Once those redundancies go through they bring back production to Abbotsford where you have fewer people left to work longer, harder and faster.
"Safety and job security are big concerns here and we don’t want to compromise either one. All the members who attended the meeting resolved to stand together and protect their jobs.”