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  • Coles (COL) supermarket chain continues to freeze out its employees striking for better job security
  • According to the United Workers Union, Coles is planning to phase out a major Sydney warehouse in favour of a more automated work load by 2023
  • Demonstrations by the Union outside the warehouse began in November, with the crowd demanding stronger redundancy entitlements
  • In response, Coles shut out workers from the warehouse, which could last for three months
  • The United Workers Union claims the shutout has affected surrounding stores, with essential items such as tissues and nappies disappearing from shelves that need stocking
  • Coles is up a slight 0.67 per cent and shares are trading at $18.10

Tensions between unions and the Coles (COL) supermarket chain continue to rise amidst negotiations of job security.

When Coles employees represented by the United Workers Union began to strike in November, they were locked out of a major Sydney warehouse.

According to the union, over 350 employees have been shut out — with the freeze possibly lasting up to three months.

Workers under Coles have been negotiating for higher job security, owing to fears of automated transformations. As well, the workers have been requesting a higher standard in redundancy entitlements.

The union claims the warehouse will close in 2023 to favour a more automated mode of business.

Coles executives have combatted the aggrieved workers with offers of higher pay. The union has stayed adamant with reluctance to accept the pay rise.

Scenes on Friday showed large demonstrations by the union outside the warehouse.

In a press release, United Workers Union Logistics Director, Matt Toner, voiced his dismay.

“It’s clear the closure of one of Coles largest warehouses is causing huge strains across Coles’ NSW operations as they go into the busiest period of the year,” he said in reference to the upcoming holidays season.

Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Coles workers have made efforts in overtime to ensure shelves remained stocked.

Toner claims these same shelves are now bare due to the locked out workers — a scenario Coles management reportedly promised wouldn’t happen.

“Right now Coles is breaking its promise to customers that there wouldn’t be shortages because of their decision to lock out their workers,” he said.

“There is clear, undeniable, photographic evidence of stock shortages in Coles supermarkets across south-western Sydney and the South Coast”.

The United Workers Union claims shortages of essential items such as; nappies, canned food, tissues, and bottled water, have appeared in the surrounding stores.

Evidence of these shortages were linked in the union’s press release.

“Workers were simply making legitimate claims about their redundancies and took action as they are entitled to,” Toner reiterated in his statements.

“Workers want to get back to serving their communities, what they are mainly asking for are redundancy provisions that attempt to address the terrible jobs market they are facing when the warehouse ultimately closes”.

Coles is up a slight 0.67 per cent and shares are trading at $18.10 in early morning trade.

COL by the numbers
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