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WHEN: 2pm Saturday, 12 December, 2020.

WHERE: Belmore Park opposite Central Station, Haymarket, Sydney

WHAT: 350 Coles workers who have been locked out from the Smeaton Grange distribution centre are calling on Coles to treat them fairly as they face redundancies when the shed closes in a couple of years.

WHO: United Workers Union president Jo Schofield and Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey will be among those addressing the rally.

NOTE: Everyone attending this event will be expected to adhere to current social distancing guidelines.

Coles workers have put their lives and their livelihoods on the line in the struggle for a better deal for them and their families after a lock out by Coles, United Workers Union logistics director Matt Toner said today.

“Coles’ cruel lockout has left these workers without pay for 23 days ahead of Christmas and exposed these workers to incredible hardships.

“Coles is wrong to describe these workers as being focused on a pay rise.

“What Coles needs to address are the workers’ concerns that automation is going to swallow their jobs when the Smeaton Grange shed closes in early 2024.

“They need clear assurances they will be dealt with fairly and they won’t be sacked arbitrarily.”

A United Workers Union member at Smeaton Grange said:

“Coles uses the media to paint this as a simple pay dispute.

“They should own up to the fact that this is the last opportunity for us to protect the final years of work with Coles before they close our industry and put us out into an economic recession.

“All we want is the ability to transition to secure and gainful employment when Coles ends all of our jobs over the next 3 years.

“Automation is not only replacing us, it is replacing up to 5,000 mums and dads in NSW and QLD over the next 3 years as the distribution industry changes.

“This is not a fight about a simple pay increase, it is a fight for our future.”



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