House debates

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Statements by Members

Coles Group: Workplace Relations

1:30 pm

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In the past fortnight, the Coles Group has made the aggressive decision to lock workers out of its Smeaton Grange distribution centre in my electorate of Macarthur. This decision has resulted in over 350 local employees in Macarthur being locked out of their workplace. That's over 350 local residents and their families who are now expected to go without pay over the Christmas and new year period. This is a truly heartless, tone deaf and aggressive decision from the Coles Group. I want to make this perfectly clear: these workers are not on strike; they have in fact been locked out of their own workplace for three months over the holiday season. We are in the midst of a global pandemic and an economic recession, yet Coles has spitefully chosen to make things even worse for over 350 dedicated and loyal employees and their families.

It's worth noting the Coles Group made a profit of almost a billion dollars in the last year, and their CEO has received a 29 per cent increase in pay. This cruel decision to lock workers out of its Smeaton Grange distribution centre is nothing short of spiteful. Workers rightfully want to be treated fairly in their redundancies when the site is projected to shift towards automation in 2023. I implore Coles to end their harsh lockout and come back to the table to work constructively with their dedicated employees to resolve this terrible situation