sebastian.horey@unitedworkers.org.au, Author at United Workers Union
February 26, 2021

FIVE-YEAR WAGE STAGNATION SHUTS DOWN AEROPLANE JELLY PRODUCTION

McCormick workers in Clayton, Victoria, who make some of Australia’s most popular food products, have taken industrial action this morning after being denied a pay rise for over five years. The protected industrial action of an indefinite stoppage will be extremely disruptive to McCormick’s most important Australian facility. This bitter dispute sees a megacorporation trying to strip workers’ conditions including taking away shift penalties, overtime loading and meal breaks. Workers are furious that after five years without any pay rise, and working throughout the pandemic to keep restaurants and supermarkets stocked, McCormick is offering a zero per cent pay rise and cuts to their conditions across the board. Workers are only asking to maintain their conditions and receive a modest pay rise of three per cent for each year of the agreement. As a result of inflation, members’ real earnings have fallen by more than six and half per cent since 2016. The Victorian […]
February 11, 2021

“TOTALLY REPREHENSIBLE” COLES LOCKS OUT WAREHOUSE WORKERS INDEFINITELY

On Wednesday afternoon Coles announced they were starting an indefinite lock out of their 350 warehouse workers at the distribution centre in Smeaton Grange, NSW. The indefinite lock out comes after an already-brutal three-month lock out, which Coles used to punish its workers for taking a 24-hour stoppage in November last year. Coles is automating its workers out of a job and plans to shut down the warehouse within the next three years. All the workers want are just terms that recognise their service and loyalty to the company, including better redundancy entitlements and a training payment to help them transition into new jobs and industries. Coles’ approach stands in stark contrast to rival Woolworths, which recently set aside $50 million to help transition its employees to the “Future of Work”. The company has shown little sympathy for the workers or their families during this lock out, despite the fact […]
December 14, 2020

Hundreds of Bonds warehouse workers strike over extreme levels of casualisation as company profits boom

Workers at the Melbourne Hanes warehouse, who distribute Bonds, Champion and Sheridan sheets, have gone on strike from 12:01am today in their fight against extreme casualisation in the outer western suburb of Melbourne, Truganina. The strike, which is planned to continue as rolling, constant stoppages without breaks until at least Thursday, has come as tensions boiled over between the workers and the company. Hanes has refused to meet the workers for further negotiations since a company offer that included cuts and changes to workers’ conditions was voted down last week. The warehouse is one of the most casualised in Victoria, with less than half of the workforce having permanent jobs and up to 150 casual workers on site on any given day. Some casuals have been waiting up to 8 years for permanent positions at the Melbourne warehouse, while the company has cut 30 permanent jobs during the last few […]
December 10, 2020

PRE-CHRISTMAS SHORTAGES STRIKE AT HEART OF COLES

Shortages in vital consumer goods have hit at the heart of the Coles network in the lead-up to Christmas, after Coles locked out 350 workers from one of Sydney’s largest distribution centres. Shortages in goods previously distributed through the Smeaton Grange distribution centre are apparent in Coles stores throughout Sydney, including flagship stores highlighted by Coles’ management as they stock up for Christmas. At Coles in Macquarie Centre on Tuesday stock shortages and empty shelves were visible in bottled water, tissues and canned fruit. Shortages and empty shelves were also visible at Coles in Westfield Parramatta. Last week Coles’ chief operating officer Matt Swindells visited the Macquarie Centre store, writing in an email to all Coles staff that the store “looks fantastic”. While the shortages at Macquarie Centre do not rival the empty shelves being experienced throughout south-west Sydney and the South Coast – where Smeaton Grange traditionally supplies about 130 […]
December 9, 2020

Fair Work Commission Order

The Fair Work Commission has made a bargaining order. The bargaining order, during its period of operation, restrains the United Workers’ Union (including through its officers, servants and agents) from preventing, hindering or interfering with persons or vehicles accessing or exiting the West End Brewery site at 107 Port Road, Thebarton, South Australia 5031. You are hereby advised that the United Workers’ Union no longer authorizes or supports any obstruction of access to, or egress from, that site. The bargaining order does not preclude the taking of protected action consistent with the FW Act. Copy of the order: Fair Work Order – West End Brewery December 8 2020
October 14, 2020

WEST END BREWERY CLOSURE BETRAYS WORKERS

Quotes attributable to Mark Whenan, South Australian Coordinator of Food and Beverages, United Workers Union United Workers Union members at West End Brewery were shocked to hear today that Lion is scrapping this iconic South Australian brewery that was started more than 160 years ago. We are still working through what this means to our members at the brewery and how they want to proceed. However, the facts of the matter are that workers at West End brewery have continued to turn up every single day throughout the pandemic, delivering for their employer, Lion. In response, the company is savagely cutting their livelihoods. This move is a massive betrayal to their workforce and the South Australian community after the company received tens of millions of taxpayer money for an upgrade to the site. Lion has an obligation to their hardworking employees and to the South Australian community to provide good […]
July 2, 2020

Sixth COVID-19 case at Coles Laverton DC

Sixth COVID-19 case at Coles Laverton DC The safety of workers must be the first priority when dealing with issues at Coles Laverton Distribution Centre where workers have tested positive to COVID-19. United Workers Union has been closely monitoring the situation since the first infection occurred. The union understands there are now six workers affected by coronavirus at the distribution centre. United Workers Union met with Coles this to demand they: Place all workers at this site on paid pandemic leave for at least 2 weeks Close the site for 72 hours to allow for a deep clean Bring in a temporary workforce to handle demand until their workers are able to safely return to work – the union has offered to help find this workforce. Matt Toner, Director of Logistics, United Workers Union said: “United Workers Union will always prioritise the health and safety of our members. We have […]
April 7, 2020

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