Workers at fashion distributer Country Road Group (CRG) have voted to postpone strike action, originally scheduled to begin today, at a meeting for United Workers Union (UWU) members yesterday outside of the Truganina warehouse.
Members cited a climate of fear management has created and voted to delay the strike to ensure that all workers on site could have a free, informed, and collective choice to take action.
Melbourne-based CRG, which distributes fashion favourites including Mimco, Trenery, Witchery and Politix, has responded to the union’s attempts to reach an equitable pay deal for its predominantly women workforce with dismissive and intimidating tactics.
Workers at the Truganina warehouse are paid significantly less than their counterparts in logistics and distribution. They are pursuing a $1.50-per-hour pay rise which would bring their pay packet in line with workers at the male-dominated warehouses in the area.
Quotes attributable to UWU logistics coordinator Mick Power:
“In an attempt to disrupt and disparage worker spirits, Country Road Group thought it would be a good idea to lay fresh manure outside of the gates in the same spot workers had planned to rally ahead of strike action.”
“This came just hours after management held American-style captive audience meetings with workers. Several insecure workers reported to officials today that their jobs had been threatened if they participated in industrial action.
“Workers have reported persistent intimidation. Examples include dictatorial Amazon-esque announcements made in staff meetings, communicating with workers at their homes and out of hours, pressuring workers to continue working despite legitimate safety objections and one-on-one conversations with workers discouraging their participation in the union.
“I have worked with some antagonistic bosses in the past, but the behaviour displayed towards workers at Country Road Group by managers is frankly disgraceful.
“To give you a sense, one of the managers called me a c*** in a room full of staff last week. Imagine how they communicate with the workers whose financial security lays in their hands.
“Despite the actions by the bosses, workers resolved to delay action, rather than cancel it.
“In the meantime, UWU will address some of the concerns and allegations raised at today’s meeting to ensure that the company will act legally and responsibly, and to allow all workers to be fully aware of their rights and make an informed decision to begin legally protected action next week.”
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