By Andy Young, editor The Shout
Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) is facing possible strikes by workers after union members voted in favour of industrial action.
Around 190 workers from both the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and the United Voice Union voted in favour of stoppages after enterprise bargaining negotiations broke down.
The unions and the brewery have been in negotiations for a new deal for around seven months and the CFMEU has already carried out two one-hour stoppages.
A spokeswoman for CUB said the brewery is keen to keep talking with the unions about a new deal.
“Negotiations have been underway at Abbotsford with our people and their representatives for over seven months. We’re keen to keep those negotiations going and are open to ways to keep the parties talking.
“We’ve had two stoppages of an hour by warehouse workers which had no direct impact on beer supply.”
Volumes at the Abbotsford brewery have declined in recent years as production has been moved to other parts of CUB’s brewing network. The spokeswoman added that CUB wants to make sure that Abbotsford site is “competitive”.
The United Voice Union also said that negotiations have been on-going for six months and that in that time the union had rejected two offers from CUB.
A spokesperson for the union told Farifax Media: “CUB members have a proud 130-year history in our union, and members want to protect the strong conditions they’ve built up at CUB Abbotsford.”
“Negotiations with the company are continuing.”
As for speculation that industrial action could have an impact on beer supplies for the upcoming AFL and NRL grand finals, CUB was quick to allay and concerns.
“There’s plenty of beer for the grand final,” the spokeswoman said.
“We will carefully monitor the stoppages and the impact on our beer supplies over coming weeks. With the protracted negotiations, we’ve continued to plan supply of beer to ensure we support our customers and consumers through peak times.
“We have the ability to use our brewing and logistics network if needed, however clearly our preference is to keep the parties talking and support our customers and consumers through peak times.”
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