PADDLE Pops, Golden Gaytimes, Magnums and Cornettos will be banned this summer if a Streets ice cream boycott takes hold.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) announced the boycott on Sunday over a potential 46 per cent pay cut for Streets ice cream factory workers.
Australia’s largest ice cream manufacturer, Streets is owned by multinational consumer goods giant Unilever.
Unilever has announced it will end an enterprise agreement with the Streets ice cream factory in Minto, in southwestern Sydney.
The AMWU is launching a $250,000 “Streets Free Summer” blitz on social and traditional media to try and protect the rights of 140 workers at the Minto factory.
Streets ice cream brands include Blue Ribbon, Splice, Vienetta, Calippo, Bubble’o’Bill and Fruttare.
AMWU media director George Simon told news.com.au that the union was appealing to all Australians to boycott their favourite ice creams on behalf of Streets workers.
“Streets application to the Fair Work Commission to terminate its enterprise agreement is likely to get up,” he said.
“That means workers go back to the award rate, which is 46 per cent less than what they are getting now.”
AMWU secretary Steve Murphy said “the only way to make this global corporation listen is to hit them where it hurts”.
“This is bigger than Streets,” Mr Murphy said. “This is a threat to every Australian worker’s pay, conditions and security of their job.
“This summer we get to choose which brand of ice cream we buy to make us feel good.
“This summer it is a choice between being on the side of workers in struggle or on the side of corporate greed.”
Anthony Toovey, general manager, Ice Cream, Unilever Australia & New Zealand, told Fairfax news that Australians could make up their own minds which ice creams to buy.
“The reality is that every Gaytime, Magnum or Paddle Pop chosen this summer will help shore up the future of Streets manufacturing in Australia,” Mr Toovey said.
Unilever released a statement announcing its application with Fair Work Australia to terminate the existing enterprise agreement.
The company said it wished “to create more flexible working conditions and enhance the competitiveness and viability of the factory”.
Unilever denied that a new agreement would result in a 46 per cent drop in workers’ pay.
One Streets worker, Sydney grandmother Michelle Parkin told Fairfax she was nervous about her future on a single income and that a pay cut could mean “people will lose their homes”.
Australian Council of Trade Union secretary Sally McManus said Streets and Unilever were forcing “blackmail” on the ice cream factory workers.
“These workers have made Streets and Unilever millions in profit,” she said.
“We won’t stand back and watch this abuse of corporate power go unchallenged.”
Streets ice cream was founded in the 1930s by Ted and Daisy Street in the Wollongong suburb of Corrimal, south of Sydney.
It launched the Paddle Pop in 1953, and is per capita the world’s best selling ice cream.
The toffee and vanilla Golden Gaytime came out in 1959, followed by the Cornetto which is now available in multiple flavours.