On March 12, the maintenance crew from Foster's Brewery, sacked by the company in February, set up a protest outside their old workplace in Abbotsford, Melbourne.
The workers have been told they can reapply for their jobs at the brewery with the new maintenance contractor ABB Australia. Yet ABB is only offering work with reduced wages and conditions. The workers are not willing to allow these conditions to disappear overnight.
Many of the workers would like to continue working at the brewery, but not on the initial offer that ABB has made. The company is now bringing in workers from the US and New Zealand to fill the vacant maintenance positions.
Foster's has illustrated its contempt for the protest by erecting a temporary fence to reinforce the security building at the gate of the brewery. It has also installed extra security cameras without consulting the remaining workforce or unions.
The sacked workers are disgusted with the attitude from Foster's management. Stephen Sparkes started as an apprentice fitter and turner at the brewery "32 years, one month and 16 days ago".
"We have been thrown out the door," he told Green Left Weekly.
"When people have retired in the past, they have made speeches about how it was like them leaving a family. There wasn't even a thank-you or anything from management [for us]."
Supporters are encouraged to attend the ongoing protest at South Audley St, Abbotsford. For details phone Chris on 0425 784 819.