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Today, hundreds of workers and supporters will launch coordinated protests across Australia calling on Coles to negotiate a just transition for workers and their families ahead of Coles’ automation programme. 

Rather than negotiating with workers, Coles decided to lock out 350 workers for three-months over the Christmas period. 

“Today’s actions will be heard loud and clear across Australia as these Coles workers stand up for their rights and the rights of all workers facing automation in the future,” said UWU National Secretary Tim Kennedy who will be speaking at the Melbourne press conference this morning. 

“Coles is one of the biggest private sector employers in this country. They cannot walk away from workers whose jobs they want to abandon without negotiating a proper automation settlement. 

“These workers built Coles’ empire, gave them the capital to invest billions into automation. Now, these workers need a just transition as part of that process. 

“I will be down at Coles’ head office today with two of the workers from Smeaton Grange because workers are ready to sit down with the company and get this done. Workers have already endorsed to accept Coles’ wage offer, this is about a just transition for workers because Coles made the decision to automate,” Mr Kennedy said. 

There will be coordinated protests happening in each state and territory between 6 am and 2 pm. Follow @UnitedWorkersOz for live Twitter updates. 

Coles is currently building a new automated warehouse but so far have refused to give skilled and long-serving warehouse workers in Smeaton Grange an opportunity to be redeployed to the new warehouse. Some of these workers have worked for the company for over 30 years. 

Workers are seeking improved redundancy to include an automation settlement, the right to transfer to the new Coles warehouse and job security in the form of a permanent to casual ratio. In a show of good faith, yesterday workers endorsed accepting the company’s current wage offer if Coles agrees to start negotiating with them on the issues of a just transition and job security. 


WHEN: 11.30 am, Thursday 17 December 

WHERE: Coles Tooronga VillageTooronga Rd, Glen Iris VIC 

WHAT: Press conference and protest 

WHO: UWU National Secretary and two Smeaton Grange workers available to speak to media. Protest visuals and rally cries. 



Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]