Australian drinks group Lion Nathan today (26 June) faced protests at its Sydney HQ from delivery workers unhappy with proposed wage cuts.

Some 57 drivers who deliver Lion's flagship Tooheys beer last week blockaded the company's Lidcombe brewery over the proposed contracts that could cut their wages by up to 42%.

The contracts are a result of a change in the company that oversees the Tooheys deliveries. Logistics group Linfox has won the tender from Lion and has offered the drivers new contracts that go some of the way to rectifying the original pay cuts.

The drivers were last week ordered back to work by conciliators in the dispute but have decided to take their protest to Lion's head office. They have argued that revised contracts do not address the issue of goodwill, which recognises the large amounts of money invested by the drivers in their vehicles.

According to Australia's Associated Press, a union spokesperson said: "(The drivers) have got large debts to repay, which they have accumulated through buying the trucks and having to maintain them, so as you can understand, it's a huge loss to these drivers not to have their goodwill recognised."

The New South Wales state government has backed the drivers' claim, as has the union representing catering at the state legislature, the Public Service Union (PSA).

The PSA has banned sale of Tooheys's products at the parliamentary bar, restaurants or bottle shop until the dispute is resolved.