In another escalation at Smeaton Grange in New South Wales, members of the United Workers Union have called for a boycott of Coles this Christmas. Coles locked workers out until February 2021 in an aggressive move last week after workers began rolling 24-hour stoppages.
The Union has today also launched a website cashedupcoles.com.au where Coles workers from around the country can anonymously upload their experiences of working for Coles.
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 entitlements, the right to transfer to the new Coles warehouse, job security in the form of a permanent to casual ratio and an increased wage offer. Workers are calling for forced redundancies to be paid at five weeks per year of service, capped at 104 weeks.
Quotes attributable to Matt Toner, United Workers Union Director of Logistics
“Workers at Smeaton Grange have already had a lot of community support in their fight for improved redundancy in the face of automation and better rights for casual workers. The union has been contacted by people right across Australia asking how they can help. Workers have decided that if Coles are going to lock them and their families out this Christmas, we’re going to ask people in Australia to lockout Coles for Christmas and boycott Coles this festive season.
“Coles relies on dedicated workers around the country to ensure its ever-increasing profits. It’s because of these workers that Coles’ profits have grown even through the global pandemic that has sent other businesses to the wall. Now we’re giving those workers a voice by launching the Cashed Up Coles website. If Coles won’t respect its workers, we will let the Australian public decide whether they want to do their Christmas shopping at Coles this year.”
From the cashedupcoles.com.au website:
We’re blowing the whistle on #CashedUpColes
During the pandemic, Coles supermarket sales have soared by 6.9 per cent and earnings have increased by 10.7 per cent. On top of this, Coles CEO Steven Cain’s remuneration package increased by 29 per cent to more than $7 million dollars in 2020! Despite this Coles has refused workers claims for a fair share of the profits they helped create. At Smeaton Grange which Coles plans to soon close to make way for automation, they refuse to offer a fair redundancy or the right for long time workers to transfer. It’s not right! We’re revealing the shameful way in which Coles treats its employees and demanding they show their workers some respect!
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