Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Molson Coors - "World Class"?

Molson Coors - "World Class"?

Unite members at Burton Brewery agree it’s right that Engineers are paid more than Technicians. After all, Engineers have additional skills that they have worked hard to learn.  The salary difference of a few grand is regarded by most as about right as a fair differential.

Molson Coors talk about being “world class”.
What is “world class” about the proposed new pay and grading structure?  What other “world class” company would have a pay differential of NINE GRAND between two grades of shop-floor workers?

What is “world class” about having a fair and proportionate difference in pay between Technician A and an Engineer, alongside Technician B grades who are miles behind? What is “world class” about being so unfair as to sicken your entire workforce?
Unite believes that there will be very little day to day difference between what "A" and "B" workers will be doing.  So far, we've not seen enough data to justify a differential of £900, let alone £9000!

Unite have made it crystal clear to management that this proposal is not reputable, and that our members will not tolerate it. Yet still they persist with it.
Management concede they don't really know how many "A"'s they will need in the future, and the initial 100 might have to be reduced. Further redundancies under it's "masterplan" are expected during the next two years.

However, management are at least able to add some re-assurance to the workers:
"We currently have no plans to reduce the salary level of the proposed Technician A's"

In a word……disgraceful.

Why #burtonbrewery Engineers are voting for action

Two-year pay protection for shift pay is a fundamental term and condition of Engineers employment.  It is highly valuable contractual term.
Unite believes that it’s high value is the reason that Molson Coors are proposing to take it away from it's Engineers.

There is no proposal for any compensation for the loss of the two-year buy-out. 
The company proposal will make Engineers considerably worse off. The ability to plan personal and family lives could potentially be completely destroyed by the radical demands of the shift-proposals.
Changes to shifts will require just 23 hours notice.  There is no compensation proposed for any loss of shift pay resulting from any change to your hours.
Engineers are aware of the company proposal to create Technician A and B grades.
Unite have also had a letter – outside of this proposal, stating the company desire to create a new role of "Multi-skilled Engineer."   Molson Coors do not believe it would be necessary for them to pay a higher salary to these workers that it already pays to the existing Engineers.  Unite perceive that this constitutes a threat to the salaries of Engineers in the future.
All Engineers are also “at risk” of being sacked as part of the 90 day consultation. All Engineers could be subject to individual consultation with a view to having the inferior new terms and conditions imposed upon them. Management confirm that this process could involve the individual  dismissal of each Engineer, with possible re-engagement upon inferior terms & conditions of employment. Bosses say all 455 workers will be sacked unless we agree changes with them by June 14th.
Burton Brewery cannot operate without it’s Engineers.  The Engineers deserve better.

I believe Engineers will send a clear message that this proposal is totally unacceptable – and will vote YES to industrial action.

Ballot closes 28th May

More on the *SHOCKING* shift proposals at #burtonbrewery

Here is some more info on the *SHOCKING* shift proposals at Burton Brewery :

Random Shifts throughout the year, no pattern.
Shift plan can change at 23 hours’ notice.
Rostered in holidays, no bookable holidays.
Would need to swap with someone from another shift to get days off that you want.
On call every day ‘off’, with call out in the first hour of the shift, to cover that shift.
Only ‘burn’ the hours that you attend work, not the full shift.
‘Planned’ extra shift or shift change at 23 hours’ notice.
No fixed shift start times.
If you do not respond to a call out, this will be treated the same as if you do not attend work on a rostered shift.
Only twenty seven nominated days where you are free from call out or work, three of which are used for Christmas day, Boxing day, and New Year’s day!
Loss of overtime as you will be called in to cover extra shifts from your banked hours.
No guarantee of a two week block of holiday.
No payments for being on-call
Will be working or on-call over 90% of the time

All negotiated shift payments are for specific shifts.  All shift payments are directly threatened by the proposed shift rules, as everyone either will or could be working to their own individual, random and ever changing shift pattern.  What would the payment be?  Management do not appear to have even thought of this.

Under these radical proposals, day workers could be asked to work night-shifts at 23 hours notice!
Under these radical proposals, shift workers could be put onto days, 23 hours before a 2 week shutdown!

We currently have 2 years pay protection when shift pay is reduced. Under the company proposal, there is no pay protection. Just 23 hours notice of a change, with no limit to how many changes there can be in any year.

Unite's solicitors believe the shift rules are probably unlawful, and fear the proposals take away workers right to a private and family life.

The proposal is an “on-call” system.  On-call patterns normally attract substantial additional payments. There is no proposal to offer additional payments.

Negotiations Update

Unite has been sharply critical within the media of the company proposal that all members may be contactable during annual leave. The company have issued a media statement denying that they have proposed this. We have asked the company to clarify it’s position.  I have now been told by Molson Coors that this requirement is not part of it’s proposals.  In response, I have queried why this is part of the Shift rules, and why this requirement has been briefed out to all 455 workers in the negotiated group.   As a result of Unite pressure, I now have a letter from the company confirming that the requirement to be available during annual leave has been removed from the proposals.  No movement has been made in respect of the other aspects of the shift proposals.

I believe that members will say NO to this nonsense. I believe they will say YES to industrial action in the ballot.

Ballot closes 28th May

The Sack

445 loyal workers at Burton Brewery face the sack sometime after the 14th June – with reinstatement on worse new terms and conditions of employment.  They all face “individual consultations” with the leadership team as part of this dismissal process.  Management say workers will not be sacked if they accept the company proposals.
Everybody faces having the site-agreement for 2 year shift-pay protection being unilaterally taken away without consent. Management propose zero compensation for slashing terms and conditions in this way.
Part of the new conditions would mean the forced introduction of the hated “flexible operating agreement”, where anything and everything workers do can be changed at the drop of a hat. This includes being forced from days to nights at 23 hours notice.
Weekly-paid face the forced introduction of four weekly pay.  Unite cannot understand why this has been slipped in as part of a macho 90 day consultation process, when a sensible discussion would have been more appropriate.
Molson Coors say they wish to make changes to the site agreement with Unite. This is the workers “book”. This contains all the site agreements, hard won by previous & existing generations of Burton Brewery workers. There is a clue in the name….”agreement”.  The site agreements are a matter of honour between Unite and the company.  It is outrageous that they are proposing to unilaterally change “agreements” – and do so via force.  Unite have demanded details of exactly what it is they are proposing to take out of the book. At the moment, workers really don’t know as the proposal doesn’t make it clear.
Two of the site agreements – on pay rates for Warehouse and Inventory Control, have been torn up by management as part of these proposals. We have told them this is an unwelcome and provocative move.
I especially feel for the workers with 30 plus years loyal service.  It's hard for them to take that the employer they have grafted for all this time is prepared to sack them now to get it's own way.

With sadness and determination, our members know what to do. They know to VOTE YES to action. I believe they will stand strong against the greedy bullies.

The maths behind the #burtonbrewery dispute

There are 225 workers facing an extreme pay cut - of around the value of a house over ten years.

Unite represent a 455 strong group of Operatives, Technicians and Engineers.

So this is just over 49% of the workers who are in this frightening situation.

We believe that somebody somewhere said, "You will be alright so long as you don't attack more than half."   Greed then dictated that the business attacked as deeply as it dared within that remit.  Hence where we are now...a proposal to take the value of a house away from 49% of the workers.

Of 284 Technicians, 184 will become "Technician B" and lose £9000 per year.  Basically, they would be doing the same job as now, alongside the 100 "Technician A" colleagues who will maintain the same salary and continue to do basically the same job.

Under the company proposal, 41 Inventory Control and Warehouse workers will have similarly extreme pay cuts imposed. 

The ballot for strike action closes on May 28th.  I believe that Molson Coors has underestimated this workforce - we shall soon see.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

What Molson Coors are doing to it's 284 Technicians at #burtonbrewery

Unite Briefing paper – Technicians

Molson Coors are proposing to divide the existing population of 284 Technicians into two groups..100 as Technician A and 184 as Technician B.  The proposal is that the Technician B workers will lose £9000 of annual salary.

We’ve asked management, “Is there a senior manager willing to put their name and reputation on the line to confirm that at least ten minutes of the working day would be different from an A Technician to that of a B Technician?”
There has not been a reply to that question.
We’ve asked if a Technician B is the same job as the Technician role, or is it a simpler, less skilled role?  
There has not been a reply to that question.
We’ve asked what differences there will be to justify a salary differential of £9000 between A & B proposed Technician roles.
The company response is that “Currently no Technician is working to A Technician standard, although we expect that the 100 we select would be at the required level between three and nine months following appointment”.
We’ve asked what could be done with a Technician during nine months of intense study that would justify them being worth nine grand more than the other Technicians.  No answer as yet to that question….
Molson Coors have confirmed that they believe the appropriate “market rate” for a Technician (B) would be £9000 less than the current salary.  Given that lack of any detail at all to show a real difference between A&B, we’ve asked them if they also believe that the proposed salary level for Technician A is also grossly overpaid.  The reply was “We currently have no plans to reduce the salary levels for Technician A’s”.  Unite was not re-assured by this answer.
Unite are also concerned that there is no guarantee of there being 100 Technician A roles in the future.  The company do not deny the possibility of Technician A workers going into a pool in the future and possibly having to become a “B”.

Your negotiating team have listened to the company. The company appear to believe that in the future there will be need for lesser skilled Technicians, alongside a smaller number of higher-skilled Technicians.  This however is very vague…and it is the possible future.  It seems to Unite that there can be no reputable or rational reasons for the company proposals for now….clearly this is all about cost reduction, and the way to achieve it is nothing short of savage.
Allowing for inflation, a £9000 pay reduction, over ten years, means £100,000 being taken from 184 of our Technicians.  Within the Burton and Swadlincote area, this is the value of a family home.
This proposal is about as serious as serious gets. Many of our members have children, whilst others are supporting elderly parents or have other dependants. Many vulnerable people – young and old, are facing the trauma of losing their bedroom, their garden, their home.
The difference between the pay of a Technician compared to Engineer is understood and respected. The differential is clearly linked to measurable, quantifiable differences in skills.  There is no such logic to this company proposal.
Add in severe cuts to wages in Inventory Control and Warehouse, and we are looking at Molson Coors winning for themselves the value of 225 local houses over the course of the next ten years.
In the future, the impact upon Technician B members in a redundancy situation is very alarming. In the company proposal, there is no pay protection either for pensions or for redundancy.  At time of writing, the company has indicated it may be prepared to offer two years pay protection for redundancy situations, although this has not been put into writing to Unite and would still in our opinion be a woefully inadequate move.
The company accepts that pension values would immediately be reduced upon implementation of the proposed pay cut. Molson Coors are offering to pay for independent pensions advice.  Unite believes that pensions are protected / covered under our site pay protection agreement; however this is not the company view.
Your Unite negotiating team believes that the company proposal is shameful.  To date, the company have not tried to justify it; we believe that this is because the proposals simply cannot be justified.
A separate briefing paper on the shift proposals – which are serious for all members of the negotiated group (including members on days) – should also be read carefully.
Ballot papers for industrial action will be posted out on Tuesday 30th April.
Vote wisely. Vote for strike action.

Rick Coyle
Regional Officer

Taken from a newsletter to members issued on 24th April 2013

What Molson Coors are doing to it's Warehouse Operatives at #burtonbrewery

Only eighteen months ago, the company reduced starter rates for new entrants. For both Warehouse and Inventory Control, this was a collective agreement with Unite that this could happen - strictly on the written understanding that existing pay rates would not be reduced in the future.

These two written agreements are now being threatened. Molson Coors - the worlds "family brewer" - is breaking it's promises to these workers....and is doing so spitefully.

The company propose that FLT drivers in the Warehouse will have pay reduced by £8202.00. Over a ten year period, including inflation, this amounts to a reduction in members household income of around £90,000.  Within the Burton and Swadlincote area, this is the value of a family home.  Members in Inventory Control face a salary reduction of £7000 – a proposal that is equally sickening, and for each worker is worth around £80,000 to the company over ten years.

Inventory control work both four and three shifts. Under the shift proposal they could be swapped from four to three or four to three without any compensation.

Members could have their shift start times changed when keg or can/bottle production start times are changed, possibly meaning starting at 02.00 am Monday morning. On nights the Warehouse could also be told not to start until….whatever time they say that day - giving the company however many hours in the bank while workers sit by the phone waiting to be called in.

Pensions would be immediately cut upon implementation of the pay cuts, expected any time after June 14th.  The company are refusing to offer pensions help, despite our site agreement that states that all pay is protected for two years in the event of a reduction.

The impact upon future redundancy payments will also be severe.  The company do not deny that further redundancies are planned in the short to medium term. 

The proposed loss of the two-year buy out is a massive issue. It means workers can be given 23 hours notice to move onto days, onto shifts, or onto different shifts, with no compensation or pay protection.

Workers have been told they face being dismissed if they don't agree to the changes by June 14th.

There is no reason why a super-rich multi-national like Molson-Coors cannot keep the specific promises it has recently made to these forty-one workers at Burton.

In a word....disgraceful.

Unite have recommended members vote YES to strike action.

Ballot closes 28th May.