Striking Chemist Warehouse workers win 18.75% pay rise
Workers in Chemist Warehouses’ Queensland and Victorian distribution centres have won an 18.75% pay increase over four years, after a 17 day strike over poor wages and conditions.
The new deal reached yesterday will see an immediate 8.75% wage increase, classification changes, more permanency for labour hire workers, improved rostering arrangements and enhanced severance and redundancy pay.
Prior to the new collective agreement, the use of labour hire in its distribution centres had allowed Chemist Warehouse to pay its largely casual workforce 25% below industry standard.
The rolling strike of as many as 800 National Union of Workers (NUW) members started on 12 March in the company’s distribution centres where staff ship as many as one million retail items per week.
Before the new deal was reached, Chemist Warehouse had attempted to pass an agreement without approval from NUW members and was ordered back to the bargaining table by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
Workers maintaining a picket line at the company’s Melbourne headquarters also reported incidents of intimidation from employer representatives.
NUW National Secretary Tim Kennedy described workers’ action as “a David and Goliath struggle” and described the significance of the outcome.
“At a time of serious wage stagnation, it’s great to see workers in their union collectively bargain for wage increases, secure jobs and respect at work,” Mr Kennedy said.
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Michele O’Neil congratulated striking workers on their win.
“I congratulate everyone who took the brave decision to stand up for their rights and win a fair deal at Chemist Warehouse,” Ms O’Neil said.
“This is such an important win. Fair pay rises and secure jobs are at the heart of the Change the Rules campaign.
“Today belongs to you – you’re an inspiration to working people across our movement and across the country.”
Read more about this story on the NUW Facebook page.
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