Canadian beer can dispute to make waves at cruise comp...

Canadian beer can dispute to make waves at cruise company AGM

10 April 2015

The 19-month dispute at packaging company Crown Packaging in Canada is set to rock the boat at the annual meeting of Carnival Cruise Lines in London on Tuesday (14 April).

The United Steelworkers (USW) union is campaigning on behalf of 120 workers at the Toronto site of Crown Packaging who have been on strike since September 2013 over cuts to their pensions, elimination of the cost of living allowance and a drastic wage cut for new starters that will create an unacceptable two tiered wage system.

The link between the two companies is that Carnival CEO Arnold Donald is also on the board of directors of Crown, pocketing an annual $200,000 for attending a few meetings a year.

A delegation of Crown workers will protest at the Carnival AGM on Tuesday (14 April) at 13.00 at Church House Conference Centre, Dean’s Yard, Westminster, SW1P 3NZ  and outside the Carnival headquarters at 100 Harbour Parade in Southampton SO15 1ST at 07.45 on Wednesday (15 April).
Officers from Unite, the UK’s largest union, will be accompanying the USW members into the AGM to question the CEO and board of directors on the dispute.

Unite national officer Ian Tonks said: “The campaign’s rationale is that Carnival relies on well-paid workers to buy its cruises and by this race to the bottom, as witnessed by the Toronto dispute, many workers will no longer be able to afford the holidays that Carnival offer.

“We believe that Arnold Donald can use his influence as both CEO of Carnival and his board role at Crown to help bring this dispute to a fair conclusion.”

Philadelphia-based Crown, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of food and beverage containers, provoked the strike in Toronto beer in 2013 by demanding massive concessions from workers.

USW and Unite argue that Crown has adamantly refused to negotiate a fair settlement with its Toronto employees since then and instead recruited replacement workers to prolong the dispute and try to break the strike.

In its latest proposal, Crown has proposed a 33 per cent wage cut for almost the entire workforce at the Toronto plant to get rid of its pension plan, and has offered few assurances that workers can return to their jobs, even after accepting all of the company’s demands.

The company is now effectively attempting to destroy the USW at the Toronto plant by looking to get rid of its unionised workforce, even if the strike ends, and replace them with the low paid non-union scab workforce they have been using during the strike.

Unite and the United Steelworkers formed the global trade union Workers Uniting in 2008, with both unions providing mutual support in disputes with multi-national corporations, such as Crown Holdings.


Notes to editors:

More information on the dispute and the campaign can be found here:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940. 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.