Coles fashion halt over abuse claims

WITH great fanfare, Coles announced last year it would be the first supermarket chain in Australia to bring men’s and women’s fashions to the grocery aisles.

Six months after the Mix clothing label went on sale, Coles has suspended buying from a textile factory in Bangladesh after revelations workers have been beaten, fired and imprisoned in a battle over wages and other rights.

The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, a US-based organisation, wrote to Coles managing director Ian McLeod last month, outlining allegations of gross abuses.

These included below minimum pay rates of 16¢ to 22¢ an hour, unpaid overtime and holiday leave, and being forced to work up to 84 hours a week. As well, workers were subjected to ”routine sexual harassment, beatings, mass firing, corporal punishment and imprisonment on false charges”.


Employers push to cut pay, hours

EMPLOYERS have expanded their push to cut minimum working hours – in one case to as little as 90 minutes a day for school students – and to slash weekend pay for casuals.

They are also moving to abolish evening penalty rates and to narrow the definition of ”shift work”, according to submissions to a major review of the awards system being conducted by Fair Work Australia.

Union counters claims by failed car parts maker

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says claims it sabotaged the restructure of a Melbourne car parts maker are wrong. The former management of the company APV Components claims union organisers refused to negotiate on redundancy entitlements, leading to the company calling in the receivers yesterday. More