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Molson-Coors to Close Edmonton Brewery as Lockout/Strike Enters Third Month

Posted to the IUF website 07-Aug-2007

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Molson-Coors has announced the end-of-August closure of its Edmonton brewery in Alberta, Canada, where 102 workers represented by CAW Local 284 have been on strike and locked out since May 31.

Workers at the brewery took industrial action in response to the company's demand for contract concessions built around introducing a hugely discriminatory two-tier wage system for new hires.

Only six months ago, the brewery had been awarded the Molson-Coors "World Class Manufacturing" distinction for world-wide company productivity. Molson-Coors,- which rejected all cost-savings proposals from the union side during the negotiations which preceded the strike/lockout - has said that the closure was decided upon following the termination of a licencing agreement with Foster's Group and shifting consumer preferences from bottled beer to cans. Industrial conflict and union resistance to a drastic lowering of conditions were cited as additional factors. SABMiller will now brew Foster's in Canada under a 10-year arrangement.

The closure comes despite significantly increased profits and a rise in the company's share price. Production will be shifted to the other Molson-Coors breweries in Canada.

On August 2 CAW and company officials met to discuss the terms of the severance packages. The workers, many of them with decades of seniority, are clearly angry and disappointed that the company refused to even consider alternative saving measures the union had put on the negotiating table. "We did everything in our power to prevent this from happening, but the company did not seem interested" said CAW Local 284 President Garth Sanderson.