FWC silences union in XXXX brewery dispute

06 August, 2018 by Andy Young

Lion has been successful in a bid to have the United Voice union stop making “false” and “misleading” claims about any plans to close or shut down the XXXX Milton brewery.

At a hearing last week, Fair Work Commissioner Jennifer Hunt issued the orders that have prevented United Voice from conducting any obstructive rallies at the brewery and making statements on a number of key areas in the long-running dispute.

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In her consideration of Lion’s request, through Castlemaine Perkins Pty Limited (CPPL), Commissioner Hunt said: “Relevant to the order sought at item 2(a), I am satisfied above, and consider it reasonable in all the circumstances to make an order to the following effect:

“United Voice be restrained from making, publishing, disseminating or distributing any statement or representation (whether in or to the media, in or on social media or howsoever otherwise) to the effect that:

“CPPL wants to or intends to close or shut down the Site.

“CPPL has threatened to, is threatening to, wants to or intends to outsource, shift or move jobs from the Site to interstate.

“CPPL has threatened to, is threatening to, wants to or intends to outsource, shift or move production from the Site to interstate.

“Any industrial action in relation to the Site is being organised by United Voice and or taken by Employees:

“i. For the purpose of supporting or advancing claims to keep jobs and production at the Site local, in Queensland or on home turf; or

“ii. Because of concerns about jobs and production at the Site being moved interstate.”

Lion also requested that the union stop making statements that the brewer “has threatened to, is threatening to, wants to or intends to increase its use of interstate labour at the Site”.

Commissioner Hunt said: “I find that [United Voice Spokesperson] Damien Davie has repeatedly referred to CPPL wanting to or threatening to bring labour from ‘over the border’ to mean that the employees would be other than residents of Queensland. It is quite a ridiculously parochial statement to make to the media, and one which Mr Davie would, on the balance of probabilities, know to be false and malicious. The statement is false and misleading.

“Relevant to the order sought at item 2(c), I have no trouble in accepting that United Voice has, on this issue, engaged in capricious or unfair conduct that undermines collective bargaining, and it is appropriate in all the circumstances to make an order to refrain United Voice from repeating such statements.”

A request for United Voice to stop making statements about CPPL wanting to use supplementary labour at the expense of existing employees was not allowed.

Commissioner Hunt said: “I consider it appropriate that if United Voice holds concerns that future supplementary casual labour paid permanent rates of pay with the casual loading absorbed into the over-award payment will be a “cheaper workforce”, they are entitled to hold and express those views. It is unclear on the evidence before the Commission where supplementary labour might be used. If CPPL is correct, it is in addition to the current workforce, and accordingly, such statements by United Voice relevant to its fears should not cause any alarm for CPPL.”

Over the course of this year, Lion has issued a number of statements dismissing “baseless” claims made by the union over its plans for the Milton brewer. Today a spokesperson for Lion told TheShout: “We respect the findings of the independent umpire.”