In the lead up the peak Christmas retail season, the United Workers Union (UWU) is urging shoppers around Australia to avoid Country Road, or any of its subsidiaries, following the company’s treatment of its workers.
Country Road Group (CRG) – which distributes fashion favourites such as Mimco, Witchery and Politix – has refused workers a $1-an-hour pay rise and threatened and stood over workers who have been pursuing a better agreement.
The predominantly female workers at the CRG Melbourne warehouse are paid up to $10-an-hour less than workers from male dominated warehouses in the same suburb. Around half of the workforce are on insecure, casual contracts.
CRG received $25 million in JobKeeper subsidies from the Federal Government and is owned by South African retail group Woolworths Holding Limited (WHL), which reported more than $300 million profit last financial year.
UWU Officer Chanda Parmar-Bonta said it was unacceptable that a hugely profitable company which had received various Government hand-outs was allowed to exploit its workforce.
“We want the people to know what Country Road is really like beyond the glossy magazines and beautifully curated boutiques,” Parmar-Bonta said.
“Country Road warehouse workers, which are taking legally protected action in pursuit of a better agreement, have been threatened and stood over by managers on site.
“That kind of behaviour doesn’t really gel with the company’s claims that it is committed to ‘high social, ethical, and environmental standards in the supply chain’ and consumers need to recognise that Country Road’s practices are neither ethical nor sustainable.”
UWU has been in dispute with Country Road for more than six months.
To find out more about Country Road’s behaviour and what workers at the Truganina warehouse are pursuing, visit CountryRogue.com.au.