Coles and Woolworths workers are striking this weekend as part of union action

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Coles and Woolworths workers are striking this weekend as part of union action

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words by staff writer

In the first national strike of its kind, hundreds of Coles and Woolworths staff are expected to join the RAFFWU organised walkout.

Coles and Woolworths workers across the country are expected to strike at 10 am on Saturday, October 7, in a demand for better conditions and pay.

On the union’s website, RAFFWU outlines that they’re striking for “a fair wage, workplace safety and job security”, demanding safer workplaces, a base rate of $29 per hour for all Woolies and Coles staff, the abolition of junior rates and the right to a minimum shift length, as well as minimum part-time contracts.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

“We’re a huge workforce and one of the lowest paid. We set the pay floor,” says Nelio Da Silva, supermarket worker and RAFFWU member.

“If we get a wage rise it’s going to be passed on to you. We need your solidarity in this strike, and you need us to win.”

Coles made a 1.1 billion dollar profit in the last financial year – an increase of 4.8%. Similarly, Woolworths made a 1.51 billion dollar profit, after tax.

According to Indeed, the “average Coles hourly pay ranges from approximately $23.21 per hour” – which is the national current minimum wage.

“Workers at supermarkets were lauded as essential worker heroes during Covid lockdowns. But while Coles and Woolworths post massive billion dollar annual profits during a cost of living crisis, its workers have missed out,” the union’s website continues.

“The dirty little Coles and Woolies secret is that those workers are paid poverty wages – among the lowest in Australia. They have unsafe workplaces where abuse, assaults, threats and harassment are a daily reality and their jobs are insecure. Through RAFFWU, now they are fighting back.”

Psst. Hey you. Yeah you. Join your union.

Keep up to date with the RAFFWU strike here