Woolworths employees take stand on proposed wage agreement

Woolworths employees nationwide are voting on a new proposed wage agreement that would cover more than 100,000 workers and dictate their pay and conditions for the next four years.

However, the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) has described the proposal as inadequate.

“Workers demand an end to discriminatory disabled worker rates as low as $2.50 per hour,” said Josh Cullinan, secretary of RAFFWU. “After agreeing last year, now Woolworths has reneged.”

The union has raised a major concern about the disparity between the proposed pay and the desired living wage. Under the proposal, Woolworths will only pay 41c per hour more than the absolute minimum award wage and cut other conditions, including using gift cards.

“Workers have been calling for living wages with a base rate of $29 per hour. Woolworths has point-blank refused. They say workers are only worth 41 cents,” Cullinan added.

RAFFWU members have asserted their stance against the proposal through various means, including work bans and strikes. These were the first strikes ever by Woolworths supermarket employees.

“I’m voting no, like thousands of my co-workers, because we deserve a living wage,” added Josh Reinecker, RAFFWU delegate at Woolworths Rosebud Central said in a statement shared by the union. 

The ballot closes next Wednesday.

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