Union claims that the Castlemaine Perkins brewery in Brisbane is set for closure were categorically denied by Lion on Monday afternoon.
A Lion spokesman swiftly rejected reports that staff were notified in June that the brewery at Milton would close, as alleged by United Voice co-ordinator Damien Davie in an interview with AAP.
“These recent claims are false; we are actually hiring five more permanent people right now,” the spokesman said.
“There are no job losses. In fact, there will be pay offers on the table – on top of the best pay and work conditions in brewing in Queensland.
“We simply want to the ability bring on [sic] additional people in Summer when we brew more beer. This is how every other seasonal manufacturer operates, but our current agreement is confusing and prohibitive.”
Lion’s own jobs board lists a July 4 advertisement for a brewery technician to join the company’s Milton site.
United Voice has been approached for comment.
This is not the first time that Lion and United Voice have locked horns over proposed workplace changes at Milton.
In May 2015, the union alleged Lion failed to meet its consultation obligations under the workplace agreement when the brewer proposed to outsource its cleaning, resulting in redundancy or redeployment for seven workers.
According to Fair Work Commission Senior Deputy President Peter Richards, Lion attributed that restructure to changes in the beer market.
“The notification issued by the employer… in particular highlighted the significant decline in beer volumes, and indicated that there was a further projected decline in those volumes,” he said in his July 2015 ruling on the dispute.
“The employer’s materials suggest that beer volumes declined by 13 million litres in the financial year 2014/2015 alone.
“The notice set out the goal of the business to retain its competitive position in the market and to remain cost-effective and have an organisational structure that would assist in achieving those business goals,” Senior Deputy President Richards said.
He found there was no material basis to the union’s claim that Lion had breached any obligation under the agreement.
“The Agreement, I point out, does not set out to inhibit or bar business change,” he said.
“The employer has been motivated in respect of its decision-making by the very significant changes in beer volumes, and the necessity to respond to a changing market.
“A failure to respond to a changing market can have catastrophic consequences, and may lead to consequences for employees well beyond the confined effects of the current situation,” said the Deputy President.