On 19 November, IEU Organisers Dave Towson and Jeff Pratt joined hundreds of members of the United Workers Union at the Coles distribution centre in Smeaton Grange, near Campbelltown, to support their strike over job security and redundancy conditions.
Coles is planning to close the centre in 2023 in favour of a new, more automated facility, and workers are seeking either redeployment or fair redundancy payouts for long term service. The supermarket giant, which made a net profit of $951 million this year (up by 7.1% on 2019), reacted to a brief 24-hour stoppage with a brutal three-month lockout over the Christmas/New Year period.
IEU members at nearby Magdalene Catholic College are also supporting the Coles workers. “The members at Magdalene College stand in solidarity with the workers at Coles, both in the spirit of a united labour movement, as well as the Catholic social teachings of solidarity and subsidiarity,” said Chapter Rep Marco Cimino.
“Many in our local community are affected by this lockout, both due to its proximity to the school and at a personal level. As a show of support, IEU members have mobilised and provided the workers with water and food to give them the strength they need to continue fighting for their rights as workers, and as human beings, to access decent working conditions.”
You too can support the Coles workers in their call to end the cruel lockout by signing their petition: https://www.megaphone.org.au/petitions/coles-your-long-serving-essential-workers-deserve-recognition-and-respect