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Historic strike for supermarket workers

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Why are supermarket workers on strike? Hundreds of Coles and Woolworths employees will stop work on Saturday as part of an ongoing dispute.
Why are supermarket workers on strike? 

Hundreds of Coles and Woolworths staff will stop work on Saturday morning over ongoing disputes with their employers.

The strike is part of a broader effort to secure better pay and conditions for Australian supermarket workers.

Coles and Woolworths said they’re not expecting the strike to cause disruptions for customers.

Why are supermarket workers on strike?

The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) is negotiating with the supermarkets on behalf of employees.

Workers described their current pay as “poverty wages” and are calling for a “living wage” of $29 per hour.

They also want better job security and safety measures, saying Coles and Woolworths aren’t doing enough to protect staff against bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

What’s happening?

The RAFFWU represents 750 Coles and Woolworths staff, nationally.

Those workers have been told to stop work for two hours, from 10am Saturday.

During this time, union members will refuse several tasks like unloading stock from trucks, filling freezers and changing price stickers.

Coles workers will refuse to clean any toilets or any in-store spills, including vomit.

Crushing cardboard boxes will also be banned for union members, who will be encouraged to speak with customers about the action.

Coles won’t pay workers who refuse to perform these tasks during their rostered hours. This is legal, but has been criticised by the union.

Supermarket response

Both supermarkets said they are in regular contact with the union and are working towards a deal. Neither expects the strikes to disrupt customers.

A Coles spokesperson told TDA it was “committed to negotiating a fair and balanced agreement for all”.

Woolworths told TDA it has “a long history of bargaining in good faith with our team and will continue to do so”.

“However, we acknowledge and respect the right of team members to take protected industrial action,” it added.

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