"Down to the Wire: Coles and Woolies Workers Make History with Nationwide Strike"strike,Coles,Woolies,workers,history,nationwide
"Down to the Wire: Coles and Woolies Workers Make History with Nationwide Strike"

“Down to the Wire: Coles and Woolies Workers Make History with Nationwide Strike”

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Coles and Woolies workers take national historical strike action


Woolworths and Coles workers, represented by the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU), are participating in their first-ever nationwide strike today. The strike is set to impact stores in major capital cities across the country. Workers will stop work for two hours from 10am to protest against poor work and pay conditions. In addition to the strike, partial work bans have been in effect at Woolworths for over a week, and similar bans will be implemented at Coles on Saturday.

The Demands

The RAFFWU is fighting for several demands on behalf of its members. This includes a request for an hourly base rate of $29, improved workplace measures to address retail abuse, and job security for casual workers. Many workers are currently paid slightly above the minimum wage and are struggling to afford everyday expenses, including the groceries they sell. The RAFFWU is also calling for better protection for workers who are subjected to assault or abuse and greater job security for casual employees.

Current Conditions

According to RAFFWU Federal Secretary Josh Cullinan, the level of abuse, threats, intimidation, and assaults that workers face is unprecedented and unacceptable. The employers, Woolworths and Coles, have not taken adequate measures to address these issues. Workers are demanding that each instance of assault or abuse be treated as a crime. They also wish to see casual workers receive ongoing employment with more guaranteed hours, particularly considering the significant profits made by these large companies.

Ideal Outcomes

The RAFFWU’s main goals are to secure fair wages for workers, ensure their safety and well-being, and provide job security for casual workers. They argue that workers should be entitled to a living wage that can cover the rising cost of living. Additionally, the union proposes that companies like Coles and Woolworths should take responsibility for preventing abuse and protecting their employees. Finally, they advocate for casual workers to have more reliable hours in their contracts, allowing them more stability and certainty in their employment.

Response from Coles and Woolworths

Both Coles and Woolworths have responded to the strike action. Woolworths claims that the strike will have minimal impact on store operations, as only a small number of its 130,000 employees are expected to participate. They also maintain that they have been bargaining in good faith with the RAFFWU and are committed to delivering a balanced outcome for all stakeholders. Coles, on the other hand, states that they are working collaboratively with their team members and bargaining representatives to develop a proposal for a new Supermarket Enterprise Agreement.

Conclusion and Advice

The nationwide strike by Coles and Woolworths workers is a significant event in the history of the Australian retail industry. It highlights the frustration and grievances of workers who feel undervalued and underpaid, while also drawing attention to the alarming rates of abuse and threats faced by retail employees.

It is crucial for both companies to engage in meaningful negotiations with the RAFFWU to address the concerns raised by the workers. Fair wages, improved workplace measures, and job security are essential for ensuring a thriving and sustainable retail industry. Coles and Woolworths should take responsibility for the well-being and safety of their employees and invest in measures that foster a positive work environment.

As consumers, we have the power to support workers‘ rights by making informed choices about where we shop. By supporting businesses that prioritize fair work conditions and uplift their employees, we contribute to a fairer and more equitable society.

Ultimately, addressing the issues raised by Coles and Woolworths workers is not only in the interest of the employees but also of the companies themselves. Fair and just treatment of workers will enhance employee morale, strengthen customer trust, and ultimately lead to greater success for these retail giants.


"Down to the Wire: Coles and Woolies Workers Make History with Nationwide Strike"
<< photo by Wendelin Jacober >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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Patterson Fiona

Hello, Australia! Fiona Patterson here. I'm your go-to gal for all things politics. I've been on the beat for more than a decade, so when it comes to the ins and outs of Canberra, I'm fair dinkum. Let's rip into it and cut through the jargon together.

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