Media Releases – 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 24, 2021

3000 AGED CARE WORKERS CALL FOR ‘BIG PICTURE’ OVERHAUL

Almost 3000 aged care workers are demanding a fundamental shake-up of aged care ahead of this week’s hand over of the Aged Care Royal Commission final report. In a survey, aged care workers called for a “big picture” overhaul as they identified serious issues affecting the care and safety of older Australians in aged care facilities including: Four in five aged care workers say older Australians are not getting the quality care they deserve in their facility because of under-staffing. Heavy workloads affecting care and safety, with 51 per cent of workers saying older Australians faced an unfilled shift every day.* Insecure working conditions affecting care and safety, with 61 per cent of aged care workers saying they want more hours, and 20 per cent saying they need to work two jobs to make ends meet. The results from the United Workers Union survey conducted late last year show a […]
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 […]
February 10, 2021

Altona ExxonMobil Oil Refinery set to close, putting 350 jobs at risk

ExxonMobil is set to close its Altona oil refinery plant which has been operational for 70 years, putting 350 jobs at risk. Is it disappointing that news of the closure broke late Tuesday evening via an anonymous tip to the media, before the company held discussions with workers affected by the closure.    Australia has witnessed several significant closures in advanced manufacturing over the past twelve months across construction, pharmaceuticals and energy. This comes at a time when global supply chains have been put under pressure by the Covid-19 pandemic, signalling a strong need for Australia to strengthen its domestic advanced manufacturing capabilities. However in the absence of a clear plan for the future of energy supply and manufacturing in Australia, many multinational corporations are pulling out of Australia.    Australian ExxonMobil workers are rated #1 in the world by their own employer. That means Australia has been exporting high […]
February 5, 2021

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF QUARANTINE CLEANERS AND SECURITY OFFICERS

Attribute to United Workers Union W.A. State Secretary Carolyn Smith: Our members working in hotel quarantine are doing their best in unprecedented times.  These essential workers deserve and need the respect and support of their communities, employers, and governments.  They should not be blamed for contracting COVID-19 when they are working to protect our communities.  The security officer who contracted the virus at the Four Points by Sheraton in Perth was doing an important job in difficult circumstances, and he went and got tested as soon as symptoms presented. If people are going to play the blame game when it comes to COVID-19, they should instead point their fingers at the dodgy contracting and job insecurity that plagues Australia’s security and cleaning industries. Most people do not work multiple jobs for the fun. They have families, financial responsibilities and are motivated by the need to get food on the table.  If a […]
February 2, 2021

Federal Government needs to step up on vaccine manufacturing at Pfizer facility in Perth

Pfizer has previously announced its decision to exit its Perth manufacturing facility in 2023. The United Workers Union is calling on the federal government to work with Pfizer and the state government to turn the facility into a world-class vaccine manufacturing facility. “These workers are skilled workers with lots of experience making cancer drugs and injectable products for our health care system. With Pfizer shifting this production to Melbourne and overseas, we have a unique moment to significantly upscale our nation’s industrial capacity to turn around hundreds of millions more vaccine doses,” said United Workers Union Executive Director Godfrey Moase. “While the McGowan Labor government has made a good start at exploring future options for the site, in the middle of a pandemic the feds have gone missing,” said Mr Moase. “The feds really need to step up and take responsibility here. We need vaccine manufacturing capacity on the west coast […]
January 21, 2021

Peters Ice Cream workers battle $9-an-hour pay cut

Workers at Peters Ice Cream production facility in South East Melbourne are set to take industrial action in their fight to stop the slashing of wages for casual workers. The initial protected action will commence Friday January 22 at 12.01 am in the form of an indefinite ban on overtime. Peters, whose well known brands include Drumstick, Maxibon and Frosty Fruit, have failed to listen to workers concerns around casualisation and low pay since negotiations began in March last year. Workers have already rejected the company’s offer that would cut the hourly wage of casual employees by more than $9 per hour. Peters maintains a highly casualised workforce – more than 30 per cent of workers are in insecure casual work, many being at the company for years without an offer of a secure permanent job. As essential workers, both casual and permanent employees have been required to put health […]
December 23, 2020

No Christmas cheer for SA hospitality workers in 2020

Hospitality workers would be forgiven for thinking the worst of 2020 was behind them as the year enters the festive season. But the Marshall Liberal Government has one more blow to deliver workers in the sector. This year, South Australia is the only Australian state or territory not to recognise Saturday, December 26 as a public holiday. Under South Australian legislation, this year because Boxing Day is on a Saturday, the State Government is moving the public holiday to Monday, December 28. This means workers won’t be entitled to public holiday penalty rates on December 26, workers will only receive Saturday rates. Meanwhile, hospitality workers in all other states and territories across Australia will receive public holiday rates of pay. United Workers Union is calling upon the Premier to do the right thing and declare both days as public holidays. “It’s a bitter blow to workers after an incredibly difficult […]
December 22, 2020

Union calls on Coles to get warehouse working again in face of Sydney COVID crisis

The United Workers Union (UWU) has today called on Coles to urgently get the Smeaton Grange warehouse operational in the face of a growing COVID-19 outbreak threatening Sydney. Workers are ready to get back to work to provide Sydney with the supplies it will need, but have been locked out by the company since November when negotiations for improved redundancy for workers facing automation broke down. “These workers were there in the pandemic last time and can be there again. Coles can get this crucial warehouse operating again very easily, all they need to do is negotiate fairly with workers,” said UWU Logistics Director Matt Toner. “Workers outstanding claims are simple, improved job security in the form of a casual to permanent ratio, the right to transfer to the new Coles automated warehouse and improved redundancy that acknowledges workers jobs are being automated.” Coles has set up a system of […]
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