Members at the Liquor shed in Stapylton, Brisbane, took the courageous step to take industrial action earlier this year in October. After only a few months as an NUW site, members stuck together and ran a disciplined and effective 24 hour strike. Appro …

Walton Pantland

NUW woolies

Members at the Liquor shed in Stapylton, Brisbane, took the courageous step to take industrial action earlier this year in October.

After only a few months as an NUW site, members stuck together and ran a disciplined and effective 24 hour strike. Approximately 170 workers were tired of earning between $73 and $118 less than the Woolworths warehouse workers just up the road.

Workers in Stapylton had only just been awarded ‘warehouse of the year’ by Woolworths management because the liquor shed was so productive, and the workers so good at their job. Workers had to ask – why then are we one of the lowest paid Woolies sheds in Australia?

After some further negotiations, delegates were able to endorse a new Agreement, which was voted up by workers after their stand had lead to a bit more respect for their work.

But then Woolworths reneged.

The thing above all else that offended members on site was that the company tried to remove their union from the Agreement. They weren’t going to cop that. They ARE the NUW – a message that was sent to management very clearly when the Agreement was voted down.

Members filed for a protected action ballot last week, and voted to again take protected industrial action last Friday. Woolworths clearly realised members at the liquor DC were serious, and yesterday, Wednesday 11 December, members across all shifts have voted to accept the Agreement they had originally voted on, with one addition. Workers at the site will now also work on public holidays with improved loadings.

Congratulations to all the members and their delegates at Woolworths Liquor in Stapylton. You have proved that united we can stand tall, while divided we can be forced to beg.

Members also pass on their sincere thanks for all the work done and support that was given to help them stand up to Woolworths. This support built up their confidence so they could stand strong and not back down.

NUW ETU
Members say that the most important thing is that their union is in their agreement and that even the wage increase and back pay are second to that. They believe in the power of solidarity and look forward to uniting with other union members in the future.

Delegates from Woolworths in Larapinta have been calling with their congratulations and thanks. They are fired up and ready to go for next year and taking inspiration from the fellow warehouse workers at the liquor DC.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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