Thousands of protesters converged on central Melbourne on September 7, marching through the CBD and blocking traffic at key intersections to support sacked brewery workers.
In the latest escalation of the dispute, unions are demanding the AFL pressure Carlton & United Breweries, one of its major sponsors, to meet the workers and to re-engage them immediately at full wages and conditions, or "face a CUB beer-free footy finals season".
Electrical Trades Union state secretary Troy Gray moved a motion at the rally for a Senate inquiry into corporate manipulation of the Fair Work Act.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union state secretary Steve Dargavel told the crowd CUB was once the "beer of working people, enjoyed at the game of working people. But CUB has turned its back on its own workers and there is now a real risk that there will be a shortage of beer for the upcoming footy finals."
Former Australian Football player and coach Phil Cleary told the rally: “Contract labour is an act of bastardy. It was the reason for the great strikes of the 1890s.
“It's an act of brutality and contempt by CUB, at a time when we are celebrating the AFL finals and they believe we should be drinking their disreputable product.
“I'm calling on the heroes of football, the Chris Judds of the world, the Bob Murphys, the Boomer Harveys, the Heath Shaws who grew up in the northern suburbs to join in solidarity with us and our workers in showing that the contempt from Carlton United will be met with likewise contempt.
“Their alcohol must be banned at the MCG throughout the finals.
“Let's tell the team at the MCG: We do not want CUB!
“Let's call on our football heroes to show the real courage that we expect to see on the streets, in the parliaments and in the workplaces. Put an end to CUB's disgraceful tactics by putting their products out of bounds.”