Brewing Solidarity

Today it was announced that the workers at the Molson Coors brewery in Burton-on-Trent, “who face being sacked and reinstated on inferior pay and conditions, have voted overwhelmingly for strike action.”

With utter contempt for their staff, Molson Coors would love to sack their 455-strong workforce, and then reemploy them with inferior pay and conditions. Forcing pay cuts on nearly 200 workers of around £9,000-a-year each!

Having none of such nonsense, the brewery workers organized in Unite the Union have made a decisive statement to their management, voting by a margin of 97 per cent in favour of strike action.

But this latest attack on the working-class is no anomaly for Molson Coors, who sadly to say have a long and apparently proud history of mistreating their dedicated employees. This because Molson Coors was formed in 2005 by a profit-boosting merger between Molson of Canada and Coors of the United States — with Coors themselves bringing to the corporate table a long track-record of ferocious anti-unionism.

Peter Coors, the current Vice Chair of Molson Coors, has played a leading role in such anti-democratic actions over the past thirty years. Actions which led to him being honored with a cameo appearance in a disturbing book that is dedicated to documenting his families right-wing activism. The title of the book says it all: The Coors Connection: How Coors Family Philanthropy Undermines Democratic Pluralism.

Most people however will know very little about this sinister background, and instead simply associate Molson Coors with their favourite pint-sized relaxants, which are produced courtesy of the workers at the Burton plant, be they Carling, Grolsch, Coors Lite, Cobra, Worthington, White Shield or Stones.

On the other hand, most people will be all-too familiar with the financial support Molson Coors provides to British football. Yet despite the brewery’s high-profile sponsorship deals, most people won’t have heard about the underhand attack that Molson Coors recently launched against Alton Town Football Club (“The Brewers”)… where, surprise, surprise, the brewery are attempting to sell the grounds of the club in order to make a tidy profit.

Similarly, thanks to the corporate media, most people will be unaware that The Brewers are fighting back against Molson Coors. Indeed, amongst other tactics, the football club has set up an online petition, which is now only 400 signatories short of their target of 2,000 supporters.

Therefore, it is immensely appropriate that Burton Albion Football Club was host to last nights mass rally of Molson Coors brewery workers… who met the news of the ballot result “with roars of approval.”

Finally, considering the football connection, in some ways it would seem a natural proposition to Reclaim the Game by extending the struggle of the Molson Coors workers onto the nation’s football stands. Solidarity can then be extended across unions, and critically between union members and non-members, in order to strengthen the hand of workers (not just Molson Coors employees) against leach-like employers all around the country.

Then maybe, one day soon, a one-day General Strike will be on the cards; which will enable the working class to jubilantly demonstrate our collective strength and disgust at our political and economic leaders ongoing and unacceptable attacks on our lives.

For a related article see “Savoury Victory Against 2 Sisters Food Group.”

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