Foster plays down workers strike affect on Victoria Bitter and Fosters


FOSTERS denies there is a threat to Christmas beer supplies because of a planned strike by workers at Visy cardboard packaging plants.

About 400 workers at Visy sites in Victoria and NSW have voted to strike indefinitely from Friday over an enterprise bargaining dispute, potentially affecting Victoria Bitter and Fosters supplies.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said the strike had the potential to disrupt beer supplies for Christmas.

However, Foster's spokeswoman Liz McLachlan said less than five per cent of its product relies on packaging from the plants where the strike has been called.

“Visy is keeping us updated on the industrial action which is happening at several of its production sites but less than five per cent of our packaging requirements are sourced from those sites,'' Ms McLachlan said.

“The shortfall can be covered by other sites within the network so at this time there is no impact on beer supplies.''

Another AMWU spokesperson, the national print division secretary Lorraine Cassin says workers are taking the action leading into Christmas because Visy had rejected key additions to their new employee agreement.

Workers at the sites make cardboard boxes for clients including Victorian Bitter (VB) beer and Fosters brewery.

"This action has the potential to adversely impact on a number of important Visy customers including Victoria Bitter, Fosters, Nestle and Coca Cola Amatil,'' Ms Cassin said in a statement

Ms Cassin said NSW and Victorian workers had voted unanimously for the indefinite strike, while WA and Queensland workers were taking other forms of industrial action from Friday.

"This latest action will be challenging for the workers and their families as they head into Christmas as well,'' she said.

"They haven't taken this lightly.''