HUNDREDS of workers attended a 24-hour rally outside the Woolworths Distribution Centre at Yennora on Thursday as part of a protected action strike over paying conditions for casuals.
National Union of Workers NSW branch spokesman Mark Ptolemy said the strike was also about casuals’ right to convert to permanent status.
‘‘One of the major sticking points was that after a person had been working at Woolworths consistently for a prolonged period they should have the right to a full-time job,’’ he said.
‘‘It was happening to an extent but during negotiations the company wanted to wind back the clock to make it more difficult for casuals. They also wanted to wind back the pay rate for casuals too.
‘‘Our members at Woolworths don’t take this type of action lightly but the issue of insecure employment is not only having a major impact on members’ work situation but also their families.
‘‘Many people on casual status find it difficult to get a home loan, a car loan and in some cases a rental agreement or lease.
‘‘Some of these workers have been there consistently so they are doing the permanent hours but their rates of pay and their status doesn’t reflect that.’’
Negotiations between the union and Woolworths are still possible.
‘‘Certainly we want it resolved,’’ Mr Ptolemy said.
A Woolworths spokeswoman said negotiations with the National Union of Workers on the agreement for workers at Yennora had been ongoing since the start of June.
‘‘We value the contribution of our staff and will work constructively to see the outstanding issues brought to resolution and a return to business as usual,’’ she said.
‘‘At all sites and across all grades Woolworths already pays above the Modern Award rate, and will continue to do so through the new offer. We are a proud Australian company who has a track record of delivering low prices to our customers as well as fair wages and good conditions for our 197,000 staff members.’’