Carlton United Breweries (CUB), maker of Australia’s most popular beers, has sacked 54 union machine maintenance workers at its Melbourne brewery ahead of the impending merger between Carlton United’s parent company, SABMiller, and AB InBev. The workers, members of the IUF-affiliated AMWU and the Electrical Trades Union ETU, were told their jobs would be contracted out but they could return to work as employees of the subcontractor—with a 65% pay cut!

The unions are contesting the dismissals and demanding reinstatement and respect for existing agreements, with the support of the production workers at the plant represented by the IUF affiliate, United Voice.

AMWU Assistant State Secretary Craig Kelly denounced the dismissals as calculated union-busting, planned in advance as the company stockpiled supplies to pubs and big retailers. Prior to the dismissals, the company was working the maintenance crews over 60 hours per week but refused to hire new workers.

As AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, moves to clear the remaining regulatory obstacles to its $108 billion acquisition of rival brewer SABMiller, workers are already feeling the notorious cost-cutting which drives AB InBev owners 3G Capital. 3G built a Brazilian brewery company into a global giant through continuous cost-cutting and aggressive acquisitions. Now 3G threatens to extend its destructive model—the mere prospect of a 3G acquisition generates job cuts.

More details

CUB brews the following brands of beer for the Australian market:

 Abbotsford, Carlton, Cascade,Crown, Foster’s, Great Northern, Grolsch, Matilda Bay, Melbourne Bitter, Miller, NT, Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, Pure Blonde, Redd’s, Reschs, Sheaf, and Victoria Bitter.The company also brews cider under the brand names:
Bulmers, Dirty Granny, Mercury, Strongbow, and Kopparberg,

and spirits under the brand names:
Cougar (bourbon and whisky), The Black Douglas (whisky), Karloff Vodka, Akropolis Oyzo, Prince Albert’s Gin, Coyote (tequila), and Continental (liqueurs).

Take action

This call for action was originally published by the IUF on 7 July, 2016. You can complete a pro-forma message to the company here:

or compose your own email and send it to:
with copies to:

Include your name, email address, union or organisation (if any), and country of residence.

Suggested wording:

To Gary Woodburn, General Manager Southern Operations

Dear Mr. Woodburn

I have learned of the unfair dismissal of 54 members of AMWU and ETU at your company’s Melbourne brewery, among them members with decades of service and dedicated apprentices. I support the unions’ demand for the immediate reinstatement of the dismissed employees and respect for existing agreements. Failure to take swift action to remedy this injury to employees who have worked hard to build your brands’ reputation will undoubtedly tarnish the image of your company and its new owners following the planned merger of Carlton United’s parent company SABMiller with AB InBev.

Yours sincerely