Australia: AB InBev loses battle against unions

Jan Craps, AB InBev’s Zone President Asia Pacific South and new CEO of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), has lost his first battle against former workers and unions. In an agreement which was struck on Wednesday, Australian Council of Trade Unions claims a “historic win” for the union movement in a fight to reemploy 55 workers at CUB’s Abbotsford plant. Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Electrical Trades Union found an agreement with CUB that invited all workers to return to their former jobs “on fair and secure conditions”.

In mid-June this year CUB sacked the entirety of their Abbotsford plant maintenance staff after they refused to reapply with a new contractor on a pay cut to 66% of the former salary and non-union conditions. After picketing outside the brewery for the past months without any results, unions called nationwide consumers to boycott CUB's most popular beers, such as VB, Carlton Draught, and Melbourne Bitter.

Jan Craps inherited the conflict from former CEO Ari Mervis, who had to leave the company after AB Inbev took control of SAB Miller and its Australian subsidiary CUB on October 10. Mervis had been CEO of CUB and managing director SABMiller Asia Pacific since December 2011 and spent the last 27 years with SABMiller.

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