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 years.
Other workers have spent years on limited tenure rolling contracts, which are renewed every 6 or 9 months. Workers are demanding a fair pathway to permanent jobs, especially after many worked hard during the pandemic to manage the 70% increase in online sales, according to the company’s own documentation.
Workers agreed to stop negotiations during the pandemic to focus on their work, but in return the company has refused to listen and instead is trying to strip back their conditions.
The company also reports net sales of $1.74B with an increase in net income of 8%, more than enough to provide secure employment for their hard working employees.
Aside from Bonds, the Hanes warehouse distributes Sheridan sheets, clothes brand Champion, Rio, Berlei and Jockey underwear, Razzamatazz tights, Explorer brand socks and more.
Workers at the Hanes strike will be observing all Victorian COVID restrictions, socially distancing and wearing masks where appropriate.
Quotes attributable to Heath Lamaro, Logistics Coordinator, United Workers Union:
“Permanent full time workers are making a stand for their casual workmates. They are fighting for these guys to have the right to a decent job and life.
“The Hanes/Bonds warehouse is one of the worst cases of casualisation I have ever seen. Workers know that if they don’t stand up for each other and for what is fair, then the company will be able to keep driving down conditions.
“Workers at this warehouse have done the hard yards during the pandemic, all they are asking for in return is the right to a secure job.”
Strike Hanes warehouse, 31-39 Permas Way, Truganina
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