Coles and Woolworths strikes: What are my supermarket opening hours this weekend?

Shoppers across the country may see bare shelves this weekend with hundreds of staff set to walk off the job in the first-ever nationwide supermarket strike.

Employees represented by the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RFFWU) will stop work from 10am on Saturday for two hours at stores in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the ACT.

The strike will impact both Coles and Woolworths stores amid growing criticism of the two grocery chains, who the union claims paid workers ‘poverty wages’ despite putting themselves at risk during the Covid pandemic.

The strike is the first of its type on a nationwide level in Australia and as many as 1000 union members are expected to take part.

Federal RFFWU secretary Josh Cullinan said staff were fighting for higher wages, safer workplaces and secure jobs.

‘Workers are paid a few cents more than the minimum wage,’ he said.

‘They just want a living wage to deal with the rising cost of living. They can’t even afford the groceries they’re selling.’

Some Coles and Woolworths workers are taking part in industrial action on Saturday and will walk off the job for two hours (file image)

Mr Cullinan said also he wanted casual employees to get ongoing jobs and for action to be taken on violence in stores.

‘They just want to be able to have more hours in their contract to rely on,’ Mr Cullinan said.

‘Mega companies making mega profits should be able to provide that.

‘We also want to see it treated like a crime when a worker is assaulted or abused. The level of abuse, threats intimidation and assaults is unprecedented and outrageous.

‘The employers are not lifting a finger to stop it.’

Will my supermarket be open?

The strike action is set to happen from 10am to 12pm on Saturday at certain stores across the country.

Both Coles and Woolworths said they don’t expected any disruption to opening hours. 

The strike is the first of its kind on a nationwide level in Australia and will impact both Coles and Woolworths stores

The strike is the first of its kind on a nationwide level in Australia and will impact both Coles and Woolworths stores 

Industrial action is also scheduled to take place at stores on Friday, sparking allegations of retaliation.

The RAFFWU claimed Coles said it would stand down every worker who implemented the stop-work ban.

‘Coles pays poverty wages then threatens to take even those meagre wages away from any worker who dares to stand up,’ the RAFFWU said.

‘To avoid doubt, workers are not paid for striking and workers at Coles engaging in bans on Friday, 6 October will not be paid by Coles.

‘Refusing to pay workers while they ban limited work is a choice by Coles in its ruthless exploitation of workers.

‘Woolworths has not made the same choice and is not currently refusing to pay workers implementing bans.’

How did Coles and Woolworths respond?

Coles told Daily Mail Australia the supermarket ”remains committed to negotiating a fair and balanced agreement for all.’

‘Coles continues to provide above-award conditions under our current enterprise agreement.

‘We passed on the Fair Work Commission’s annual wage increase to our supermarket team members in July.

‘We dispute the misinformation being pushed by the bargaining representative who is representing less than 0.4 per cent of team members and remain committed to negotiating a fair and balanced agreement for all.’

Retail and Fast Food Workers Union is demanding better pay and working conditions but both supermarkets said the amount of workers striking wouldn't affect their services

Retail and Fast Food Workers Union is demanding better pay and working conditions but both supermarkets said the amount of workers striking wouldn’t affect their services

Woolworths said only 300 of its 132,000 staff were expected to take part in the strike action.

A supermarket spokesperson said initial bargaining agreements with the RAFFWU had already occurred.

‘We have a long history of bargaining in good faith with our team and will continue to do so,’ they said.

‘However, we acknowledge and respect the right of team members to take protected industrial action.

‘Only individuals who have appointed RAFFWU as their bargaining representative are able to participate.

‘As a result, we would not expect customers or our stores to be materially impacted. ‘

The spokesperson said Woolworths had also ‘passed on’ a 5.75 per cent wage increase.

WHAT STORES ARE AFFECTED?

The list of impacted stores is not known, with striking employees ordered to rally at certain points, including:

Victoria

Melbourne – Coles Spencer St (near Southern Cross Station)

Gippsland – Coles Traralgon Central

NSW

Sydney – Belmore Park, Eddy Ave entrance, Haymarket (near Central Station)

Broken Hill – Woolworths Broken Hill

Queensland

Brisbane – outside Myer Centre McDonald’s at corner of Elizabeth and Albert streets

Northern Brisbane – Woolworths Narangba

Charters Towers – Woolworths Charters Towers

Gladstone – Coles Gladstone

Western Australia

Perth – Coles Byford

Australian Capital Territory

Canberra – Coles Tuggeranong

South Australia

Adelaide – Woolworths Aberfoyle Park

Tasmania

To be confirmed

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