Coles locks out workers calling to be treated with respect

Contributed by Ugly

More than 350 workers at Coles Smeaton Grange are locked out for not agreeing to accept the company’s plan to get rid of them for the least cost possible.

About two years ago, it was announced that the operation at Smeaton Grange would be automated in 2023. Since then, the workers, backed by the United Workers Union (UWU), have been trying to get a better deal.

They are making their presence at the gate to pressure management to talk. Their action is now regarded as a strike. Their have been presences outside some Coles supermarkets

These workers want an offer that guaranties fair redundancy, which recognises the years of work put in, and takes account of the difficulty of finding work during the pandemic. They want what they see as a fair wage rise written into the new enterprise agreement.

Photo by Kayla Osborne: Coles Smeaton Grange workers outside their workplace

Anger has risen over the disclosure that Coles supermarket sales soared by 6.9 percent in 2020 and earnings by 10.7 percent. CEO Steven Cain got an increase of 28.9 percent, taking his income for 2020 to $7 million.

The workers are angry about being left out.

They insist that the company has a responsibility to look after those who have contributed to its bottom line over the years, and part of this is to consider the long-term interests of the workforce, rather than just casting them aside.

They want to be given the right to transfer to other company jobs and locations.

UWU director Matt Toner said “Workers have been forced to strike because Coles has yet to offer them a redundancy that recognises the huge and lifelong contribution these workers have made, the right to transfer to new, automated warehouses and job security for long-term casual workers who will otherwise walk away with nothing”.

He said the failure to negotiate a settlement “means no pay for 350 workers and their families over Christmas and New Year. This aggressive attitude has only emboldened workers”.

The dispute is continuing.

An effort is being made to build community support for these workers. Part of it is a signed letter to Steven Cain with thousands of names signed on through this link

3 Comments on "Coles locks out workers calling to be treated with respect"

  1. Fight them through the residents of the town…

  2. Coles big bosses should be bloody ashamed of themself for what they are doing to the people that have worked to make sure that those products get to where they should be.
    SHAME ON THE CEO AND ALL THE ONES THAT SIT IN HEAD OFFICE THINKING THAT THEY DESERVE HIGH PAY RAISES SHAME ON ALL OF YOU YOU SHOULD THANK THE PEOPLE WHO TO THE GRUNT WORK BECAUSE IF YOU HAD TO IT YOU WOULD NOT LAST

  3. Judith Griffith | 28 November 2020 at 11:55 am | Reply

    The best way for the public to help combat these companies is to do not subscribe to them by buying from the…They need to be boycotted to show them what it is like to not have respect shown to them…I have put my money were my mouth is and am boycotting Coles till they comply.. There are several more Supermarkets that supplies the same goods as they do and I am sure you will find just as many specials at their store as you would at Coles…

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