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PHEW: XXXX's Queensland brewery isn't shutting down

CLAIMS that Queensland's famed XXXX Brewery will close its doors in Milton have been slammed as "false" by parent company Lion.

A Lion spokesman said the company was "actually hiring five more permanent people right now" after the United Voice union announced the brewery was due to close its doors.

"There are no job losses or changes," the spokesman said.

"In fact, there will be pay offers on the table - on top of the best pay and work conditions in brewing in Queensland."

It is understood the company have had two meetings with United Voice in an attempt to alter the terms of an enterprise bargaining agreement to allow labour hire workers to be employed when required.

United Voice co-ordinator Damien Davie said Monday morning that Lion had notified staff in June that the Castlemaine Perkins brewery at Milton would be shut down.

Other workers had received threats the plant would close if negotiations to scrap full time jobs in favour of labour-hire, part-time and casual positions were unsuccessful, Mr Davie said.

"The continued push to bring in labour-hire employees and casualise the workforce is the main reason cited by management when threatening workers with closing the plant," he added.

"A large proportion of XXXX is now made at the Tooheys Brewery in Lidcombe, Western Sydney.

"XXXX gold is also made at West End in South Australia and in some circumstances even at the Boags Brewery in Tasmania."

Labelling the claims as "false", XXXX brewery ­director Irene Bell said Queenslanders should be "outraged" the union would make up the allegations "about our iconic brewery".

Ms Bell told The Courier-Mail the company was in the process of hiring five more permanent employees to ­bolster the 144-strong workforce.

"There are no job losses or changes," Ms Bell said.

"In fact, there will be pay offers on the table - on top of the best pay and work conditions in brewing in Queensland."

Ms Bell was in charge of the Swan Brewery when it was shut down.

The accusations led to management calling an emergency meeting of staff on Monday.

Monday afternoon Mr Davie stood by his claims that management had threatened to close the Milton site, in the same way Lion closed Canning Vale's WA Swan Brewery in 2012.

"For some time now they've been telling us that if they don't get some concessions in the way the labour's structured there they'd be moving production elsewhere, which they've gradually done," Mr Davie said.

"Production at the site has reduced over time.

"If they deny ever threatening to close the brewery, or they deny that it will end up like Swan Brewery, they are liars."

The Lion spokesman refused to comment on negotiations but said: "We simply want to the ability bring on 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."

Brewed under the XXXX banner since 1924, the cultural icon was sold to Alan Bond in 1985, two years after he won the America's Cup. Five years later, it was sold to Lion Nathan, which was bought by Japanese brewing giant Kirin in 2009.

The brewery, sitting on prime real estate in Milton for the past 120 years, ­according to Brisbane City Council's heritage register, has become synonymous with Queensland's cultural identity.

Topics:  beer editors picks xxxx

News Corp Australia


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