The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) launched its national boycott campaign against Streets ice cream products on October 29, urging people to “stand up for fairness and commit to a Streets-Free Summer”.
Products to avoid include Paddle Pop, Splice, Golden Gaytime and Blue Ribbon ice cream, as well as imported brands Cornetto, Bubble O’ Bill, Viennetta and Calippo.
AMWU NSW secretary Steve Murphy said the workers had no choice but to call for a boycott after Streets “hit the nuclear option”.
This is a reference to section 225 of the Fair Work Act, which allows employers to apply to the Fair Work Commission for enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs) that have reached their nominal expiry date to be terminated, returning workers to minimum award rates.
The union said about 140 workers at the company’s Minto factory would suffer a 46% pay cut if Streets’ parent company, corporate giant Unilever, succeeds in its application to terminate their EBA.
Murphy said: “This is bigger than just Streets. Every Australian worker faces the risk that if their employer hits the nuclear button, they too could lose their wages and conditions.
“This is about standing up to corporations intent on destroying Australian workers’ pay, conditions and job security. This is about working people saying enough is enough.”
EBA terminations have more than doubled in the last three years, from 156 in 2014 to 517 last year.
Speaking at the launch, Australian Council of Trade Union secretary Sally McManus said: “These workers have made Streets and Unilever millions in profit,” she said. “We won’t stand back and watch this abuse of corporate power go unchallenged.”
Murphy said: “These workers need your support. We know that the only way we can make this company listen is to hit them where it hurts and boycott their products.
“This summer we need to pick a side: supporting workers in struggle or standing by and letting corporate greed run unchecked. Let’s all have a #streetsfreesummer.”