A number of Officeworks employees working at its distribution centres across Victoria and New South Wales are set to go on strike next week.
In an announcement from the United Workers Union (UWU), 275 Officeworks distribution centre workers would take a 24-hour work stoppage at the company’s North Rocks and Yennora sites in NSW and the Laverton site in Victoria.
Officeworks uses the distribution centres to both replenish stock in its physical stores and fulfill online customer orders across Australia.
The work stoppage was endorsed yesterday by UWU members working at Officeworks to make a stand for job security and redundancy provisions amid concerns of their jobs potentially being outsourced in the future.
The UWU alleges Officeworks has offered “sub-inflation wage increases” with cuts to overtime penalties and no protection for future job security, despite recording record pandemic-related profits. The union said sales totals have increased 27 percent in the past five months.
The union also cited the employees’ roles as frontline essential workers, as they have continued working even after three positive COVID-19 cases were recorded in the distribution centres.
“Workers are asking Officeworks to acknowledge their hard work and dedication with a reasonable wage offer and job security assurances,” the announcement read.
Officeworks UWU members are also calling for consumers to support the work stoppage by not shopping at Officeworks, either online or in person, on Monday, 24 August.
UWU director of logistics Matt Toner said, “It is absolutely unacceptable in the midst of this pandemic for massive corporations to offer negligible pay increases to their essential workers and refuse to protect their job security by ensuring that their wages and conditions will not be undercut.”
“The managing director for Wesfarmers, the parent company of Officeworks, thinks it’s OK to increase his salary by 7.8 percent in one year. It’s time that workers who are actually essential get the big pay increases in line with the contributions they make.”
Toner added that business is booming for Officeworks while many are struggling, as the company’s profits increased by 41.5 percent between 2015 to 2019 to reach $167 million.
Profits also increased further during the COVID-19 pandemic and Toner said the feat would not have been possible “without the dedication of [Officeworks] workers”.
“Since the company shifted to focus on online sales, the warehouse and logistics workers have been working harder than ever,” Toner said.
“We are seeking a wage increase and job security assurances that reflect the commitment workers have shown to Officeworks and the contributions they have made over the years.”
CRN has contacted Officeworks for comment.