Contributed from New South Wales
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) is calling on Australians to boycott Streets ice cream products, as part of its strategy against an attempt by the company to cut the wages of its workforce.
At yesterday’s campaign launch , ice cream lovers were asked not to buy Paddle Pops, Gaytimes and other products, in order to send the message that what the company is doing is not alright.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has given its support.
Unilever, the parent company that owns Streets, has applied to the Fair Work Commission for an end to the current enterprise agreement, so that a 43 percent wage cut for 140 workers at its Sydney factory can be implemented.
Of the workers, Michelle Parkin, who has been at Streets for 18 years says she is “hugely nervous” about the future she faces with such a massive pay cut and a single income. At 53, she asks, “how hard would it be for someone my age to find another job”?
She fears for the position that workers with young families will be put in.
Unilever in one of the biggest multinationals, based in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, best known over the years, for its range of cleaning products. It is also one of the world’s biggest producers of margarines and other spreads. In more recent time, the multinational has moved in and taken many big-name ice cream companies in Europe, the United states and Australasia.
Altogether, Unilever has over 400 brands under its belt. With annual sales are up to $A2 billion, they are are in no danger of going under and justifying cutting wages in Australia to avoid being forced to close, doesn’t cut with those who are to be on the receiving end.
The union has also launched a major social media blitz on social media, in its bid to defend the right of these workers to be paid a livable and just wage.
There is a plan to mobilise hundreds of union activists online, to disrupt Streets product launches and promotion campaigns.