Shorten calls for calm in Little Creatures dispute

Workplace relations minister Bill Shorten has requested that contractor TFG Group and unions remain calm as a dispute over work on a Little Creatures brewery site continues.

Workplace relations minister Bill Shorten has requested that contractor TFG Group and unions remain calm as a dispute over work on a Little Creatures brewery site continues.

Shorten has written to Brian Boyd of the Victorian Trades Hall Council and TFG, stating that the law should be respected and development should continue.

"We condemn any violence or intimidation at or around work sites — all parties should obey the law and all workers should be able to work in a safe environment," read Shorten’s letter, reported by The Australian.

Western Australia-based TFG is refitting a factory site in Geelong for Lion, the owners of Little Creatures. Picketers at the site are objecting to unions and locals being left out of the work, and what they claim is a lack of communication with the community.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Engineering Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union have been ordered not to protest unlawfully at the site, and TFG has said it will deal with individual protesters – some of which have made death threats, according to reports yesterday – through court actions.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has also expressed disappointment at the protests.

"I am very concerned, and the government is very concerned, and I have no doubt that this outrageous, unlawful union behaviour which is taking place in Geelong runs the risk of costing jobs and costing our reputation," The Australian reports him as saying.

According to a Facebook Group linked to the dispute, Grubby Creatures, a bus delivering contract workers hit a picketer yesterday morning.

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