Woolworths workers call for ‘No’ vote on dud deal

June 13, 2024
Retail and Fast Food Workers Union members campaign for a no vote in Yeppoon, Queensland. Photo: RAFFWU/Facebook

Some Woolworths workers are campaigning against a proposed enterprise agreement that would cut real wages and reduce rights for many.

The four-year agreement proposes wages just 41¢ an hour more than the minimum award wage and cuts other conditions.

The agreement, which would cover more than 100,000 workers, has been endorsed by the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association.

The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU), which organised industrial action and strikes in October and December last year, has called on workers to vote against it.

Voting on the proposal started on June 12. RAFFWU members stopped work at 10am that day and called for others to vote against the agreement.

RAFFWU Secretary Josh Cullinan said workers are calling for a base rate of $29 an hour. “Woolworths has made billions off the back of workers and customers for years,” he said, and had “point blank refused” to pay living wages.

Cullinan said Woolworths had torn down posters and banned flyers calling for a no vote. It also blocked workers from discussing voting no on an internal discussion platform.

Cullinan told Green Left in May that Woolworths had offered workers gift cards to encourage them to support the new agreement. He said many were unable to afford food from their own workplaces.

Josh Reinecker, a Woolworths worker and RAFFWU delegate, said he would be “voting no, like thousands of my co-workers, because we deserve a living wage”.

He pointed out that “while Woolworths has made mega profits, we are paid poverty rates”.

Cullinan said RAFFWU is also campaigning to end “discriminatory disabled worker rates”, which can be as low as $2.50 an hour.

Woolworths agreed to scrap the discriminatory rates last year, but has now reneged.

“When we vote no, we know we can secure a much fairer deal,” Cullinan said.

The vote closes on June 19.

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