by Davey Heller, 29th March 2021
On Thursday 1st April at 1 PM, the United Workers Union (UWU) is organising a solidarity protest for the workers at McCormicks Foods in Clayton, Melbourne, who are in week five of their strike. They produce sauces for KFC, McDonalds and other fast food franchise, Keens Curry Powder and Aeroplane Jelly. On Wednesday 31st, the workers will once again be voting on whether to accept the offer from the company. The offer has not improved one iota from original terrible offer made to workers. The offer is still a 0% payrise and attacks on conditions including overtime rates and meal breaks.
This demonstrates that McCormicks Foods, who are a subsidiary of the Canadian multi-national McCormick and Co. are trying to grind the workers into submission. The workers although they are determined to fight for their rights are currently isolated in their struggle. The UWU bureaucrats ,whilst supporting the picketline on the ground, are not doing enough to mobilise support in the broader union movement. The only way to strengthen the hands of the workers in the face of the intransigence of a multinational determined to cut costs at the expense of workers is to expand the support for their strike amongst other workers.
Actions you can take to support the McCormick Workers!
1) Attend the April 1st Rally
Although called at short notice by the UWU – please attend if you can. The rally has been called in expectation that workers will vote down the company offer the day before.
Thursday 1st April rally at 1 PM
63-71 Fairbank Rd, Clayton South
UWU Facebook Event
2) Organise in your workplace/Union
Pass a motion in your union branch in support of the McCormicks workers and organise a delegation to attend the picketline which is staffed 24 hours a day , seven days a week by the McCormick workers at the factory. Talk to your co-workers about the struggle.
3) Use Social Media
Spread the word about the McCormicks strike amongst your social media networks. Send a message to McCormicks Foods Australia via their social media accounts below telling them what you think of their mistreatment of their workers
McCormick Foods on Twitter
McCormick Foods on Facebook
4) Attend the picketline
If you are in Melbourne to show your support by dropping into the picketline 63-71 Fairbank Rd, Clayton South
Workers must unite their struggles and organise independently
Australia has some of the toughest anti-strike legislation in the world which outlaw solidarity strikes. Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA’s) split workers up within industries. Introduced by the ALP in the 90’s EBA’s mean workers can only negotiate at the level of an individual workplace rather than collectively across industries. In the case of McCormicks – the workforce in the warehouse and the factory are even on different EBA’s. Trade Union bureaucracies are not prepared to challenge these laws as it would risk big fines and more importantly would mean challenging the whole parliamentary framework including their patrons in the ALP. Everything is designed to atomise and divide workers. The solution is to unite them.
We must find ways of uniting workers independently inspite of these obstacles. As the global capitalist crisis deepens workers in Australia and elsewhere will increasingly be thrown into struggle. We must reach out across workplaces and internationally to support each other and link our struggles together. Workers need to work independently of the trade union bureaucracies and against them if necessary to link our struggles. Ultimately our struggles must be linked into a struggle against the capitalist system itself and for socialism.
Image credit: Nicky Minus – Workers Art Collective