Media Releases – Page 2 – United Workers Union
December 11, 2020

High Court refuses Spotless leave to appeal against landmark redundancy pay ruling

On 11 December 2020, Spotless Companies were refused leave by The High Court to appeal against a Federal Court Judgment holding them liable for redundancy pay for employees who lost jobs when Spotless lost a contract. The Full Federal Court previously rejected two Spotless appeals in July 2020, against two judgments holding them liable for redundancy pay. The original judgments held that Spotless should not deny redundancy pay to workers at the Sunshine Plaza Shopping Centre, in Queensland and Perth Airport in Western Australia, when Spotless lost cleaning and security contracts in 2014 and 2015. Despite having held the contracts for over 12 years, Spotless claimed that redundancies following the contract losses were ‘ordinary and customary turnover of labour’ under a Fair Work Act loophole and workers were not entitled to redundancy pay. Spotless asked the High Court to overturn the previous adverse judgments on the basis that they say […]
December 11, 2020


The historic West End brewery site could be sold for about $80 million for the development of 480 high-quality residential units, a financial analysis of the site by United Workers Union has found. If the sale price were achieved it would amount to 40 times the total amount being sought by about 100 striking workers at West End brewery, who have called on the brewery multinational Kirin, owners of Lion, not to abandon South Australian workers as they abandon South Australia. The 160-year-old brewery site is on an 8-hectare site on Port Road at Thebarton, just across the River Torrens from the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and about 1.7 kilometres from Adelaide’s CBD. The analysis finds the site is worth $78.8 million. It assumes the land would be used for 480 medium density, low-rise, high-quality apartments and calculates the price a developer would be willing to pay to develop the site […]
December 10, 2020


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
December 8, 2020

G8 exposed as ripping off educators while posting millions in profit

Today it’s been revealed that G8, the largest for-profit provider of early childhood education in the country, has underpaid as many as 27,000 educators as much as $80 million. Contraventions of the Award date back to 2014, and relate to basic entitlements including payment of overtime and allowances, minimum engagement periods, and record-keeping of hours worked. G8 described this largescale breach of the Award as “potential inadvertent non-compliance with some requirements.” Last year G8 posted a profit of $154.9 million. It now appears that this profit was built by depriving educators of their minimum legal entitlements. United Workers Union Early Childhood Education and Care Director Helen Gibbons said: “United Workers Union has been raising issues like this for years. Finally, the extent of this issue has been exposed, and G8 should hang their heads in shame. “There’s no excuse for this level of ongoing and systematic wage theft from low-paid […]
December 7, 2020

Unions Mobilise AI to turn the tables on wage theft in hospitality

Unions are taking the fight against wage theft to the next level with a new app that uses artificial intelligence to empower young hospo workers and help them turn the tables on dodgy bosses. With IR policy set to dominate federal politics this week, digital union Hospo Voice (the hospitality arm of the United Workers Union) will today launch its new app Mobilise For Hospo Voice with an online event where hospo workers can get wage theft questions answered by AI live on Facebook. Mobilise has an AI-powered chatbot backed by a team of volunteer experts. Mobilise can also check workers’ pay, record their hours worked and help them report harassment and bullying. The new app Mobilise was beta-tested with union members over the last few months. So far 270 questions have been answered. Mobilise’s AI brain is already answering 35% automatically, with this proportion set to rise as more workers use the app. Mobilise uses artificial intelligence (AI) […]
December 4, 2020


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


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 […]