Media Releases – United Workers Union
December 4, 2020

COLES BREAKS PROMISE TO CUSTOMERS: LOCKOUT SHORTAGES HIT STORES

A heavy-handed move by Coles to lock out workers at one of the region’s biggest warehouses for three months has hit stores in South West Sydney and the South Coast hard with shortages of vital products including nappies, canned food items and bottled water. The current shortages also raise the prospect of further shortfalls of household and food items for south-western Sydney and South Coast residents in the busy retail period before Christmas. The shortages contradict Coles’ assurances through their spokespeople that the aggressive industrial tactic of locking out workers for three months over Christmas would cause no shortages. Coles locked out the 350 workers in late November, escalating a dispute over redundancies and job security after announcing the warehouse in Smeaton Grange would close to make way for a new automated one in 2023. United Workers Union Logistics Director Matt Toner said: “It’s clear the closure of one of […]
December 2, 2020

Prison Escape: No surprise for United Workers Union Members

A prison break which saw a prisoner escape Adelaide Remand Centre (ARC) on Tuesday morning, comes as no surprise to custodial officers working at the facility. United Workers Union members employed as custodial officers at the Adelaide Remand Centre (ARC) have raised numerous concerns about understaffing and their safety at work over the past 12 months. These concerns are underpinned by widespread understaffing, being subject to violence and intimidation and issues such as not being able to take meal breaks. Custodial officers claim that under ARC’s contract provider Serco the staffing level to run the facility is less than half the number of staff engaged prior to privatisation. This reduction in staff may explain the $8 million dollars per year in savings claimed by the State Government when they awarded Serco the contract in 2019. Comparisons in relation to staffing levels, now and prior to privatisation:• In the gym / […]
December 1, 2020

ESSENTIAL SERVICES INVESTMENTS IN STATE BUDGET WELCOMED

United Workers Union welcomes a boost to the number of paramedics and health professionals, and extra teacher aides, all announced in today’s State Budget. Throughout the election, Queensland United Workers Union members called for commitments from both sides of politics to properly fund our health services and keep public jobs in public hands. The Palaszczuk Government made those commitments and has today delivered on those promises for Queensland with the announcement of: 1,700 more health professionals 1,139 new teacher aides and 6,190 teachers over the next four years 475 more ambulance officers United Workers Union National Ambulance Coordinator Fiona Scalon said: “The Palaszczuk Government has delivered on their election commitments for more ambulance resources in the state budget. “Ambulance officers have been on the frontline of this pandemic, and these 475 extra positions announced today alongside new and upgraded stations, and sufficient vehicle numbers, will ensure our members can continue […]
December 1, 2020

BRISBANE AIRPORT BOUNCES BACK, PITY ABOUT THE MASS SACKINGS

WHEN: 7am Tuesday, 1 December, 2020. Press conference at 7.45am. All times local time. WHERE: Brisbane Airport – Kingsford Smith Memorial WHAT: Over 100 cars will create a motorcade at and around Brisbane Airport from 7 am – 7:30 am calling on ISS Facility Services to adopt a fair, transparent process in their plans to cut more than 30 per cent of airport security officers Australia-wide. This will be followed by a press conference at 7:45 am at Kingsford Smith Memorial. WHO: Security Officer Angie Brandham and United Workers Union Spokesperson for Property Services, Damien Davie and will be available for comment. NOTE: Everyone attending this event will be expected to adhere to current social distancing guidelines. As Brisbane Airport bounces back today (EDS: Tuesday) with increased flights and interstate border restrictions largely removed, hundreds of airport security officers facing the sack nationally will be calling for fair treatment. After […]
November 30, 2020

Sexual harassment, poor infection controls, understaffing – Workers’ extraordinary claims about unsafe practices in Queensland’s COVID testing clinics

Frontline workers at Queensland’s two largest private pathology companies have exposed shocking health and safety practices, including widespread allegations of physical and sexual assault. Employees at Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology (SNP) and QML Pathology (QML) have spoken out about a litany of poor practices at the pathology clinics, which conduct tests as part of Queensland’s coronavirus testing regime. During peak infection rates in Queensland, COVID-19 concerns were raised that poor infection control processes may risk the spread of the coronavirus, including allowing potential COVID-19 patients to attend non-COVID testing clinics, a lack of social distancing and moving collectors between COVID and non-COVID testing clinics. SNP had also previously prohibited certain staff from wearing masks in the workplace, directing them to remove those masks if they wore them during their shift. This is despite workers with vulnerable family members raising concerns about the risk of workplace transmission. When United Workers Union members […]
November 28, 2020

COLES WORKERS TAKE PROTEST TO MELBOURNE HEAD OFFICE

MEDIA ALERT WHEN: 12 pm TODAY Saturday 28 November, 2020 WHERE: Coles Tooronga Village – 766 Toorak Road, Glen Iris, VIC. This is Coles’ flagship store and is co-located with their head office. WHAT: As the United Workers Union’s boycott on Coles grows, 50 workers will stage a protest at Coles’ head office in Tooronga, Melbourne. They will be advising customers of Coles’ decision to lock out workers for three months at their Smeaton Grange warehouse in New South Wales, rather than negotiate transfer rights, improved redundancies and rights for casuals in the face of a looming site closure and automation.  WHO: United Workers Union Director of Logistics Matt Toner will be on site for comment and there will be speeches by workers who are exploited by Coles in their supply chain.    Further information: https://www.unitedworkers.org.au/union-calls-for-boycott-unveils-cashed-up-coles-website/ https://www.unitedworkers.org.au/coles-workers-file-for-indefinite-stoppage-in-the-face-of-three-month-lockout/ https://www.unitedworkers.org.au/coles-workers-strike-in-new-south-wales/
November 26, 2020

BRISBANE RALLY ON WHEELS – WORKERS CREATE MOTORCADE IN THEIR FIGHT FOR THEIR LIVELIHOODS

MEDIA ALERT WHEN: 7:45 am TODAY Thursday 26 November, 2020 WHERE: Brisbane Airport – Kingsford Smith Memorial WHAT: Over 100 cars will create a motorcade at and around Brisbane Airport from 7 am – 7:30 am calling on ISS Facility Services to adopt a fair, transparent process in their plans to cut 30 per cent of airport security officers Australia-wide. This will be followed by a press conference at 7:45 am at Kingsford Smith Memorial. WHO: Security Officer Angie Brandham and United Workers Union Spokesperson for Property Services, Damien Davie and will be available for comment. NOTE: Everyone attending this event will be expected to adhere to current social distancing guidelines. United Workers Union members will rally on wheels outside Brisbane Airport to demand ISS Facility Services adopt a fair, transparent process in their plans to cut 30 per cent of airport security officers Australia-wide. At Brisbane Airport 210 security officers are on the chopping block, with ISS […]
November 26, 2020

MELBOURNE RALLY ON WHEELS – WORKERS CREATE MOTORCADE IN THEIR FIGHT FOR THEIR LIVELIHOODS

MEDIA ALERT WHEN: 8:45 am TODAY Thursday 26 November, 2020 WHERE: Melbourne Airport – Outside Virgin Departures Hall WHAT: Over 100 cars will create a motorcade at and around Melbourne Airport from 8 am – 8:30 am calling on ISS Facility Services to adopt a fair, transparent process in their plans to cut 30 per cent of airport security officers Australia-wide. This will be followed by a press conference at 8:45 am outside Virgin Departures Hall. WHO: United Workers Union Spokesperson and security officers will be available for comment NOTE: Everyone attending this event will be expected to adhere to current social distancing guidelines. United Workers Union members will rally on wheels outside Melbourne Airport to demand ISS Facility Services adopt a fair, transparent process in their plans to cut 30 per cent of airport security officers Australia-wide. At Melbourne Airport 283 security officers are on the chopping block, with ISS to hand out redundancies at random, a […]
November 26, 2020

Union calls for boycott, unveils Cashed Up Coles website

MEDIA RELEASE 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 […]
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