The Guardian • Issue #2050

Coles bargaining 2023: Not down down

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2050
Coles in Chadstone Shopping Centre.

Coles in Chadstone Shopping Centre Photo: Wpcpey – Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

RAFFWU, the Retail And Fast Food Workers Union is bargaining for members at Coles.  Workers at Australia’s second-biggest supermarket chain can sign up to have RAFFWU bargain on their behalf. Just joining gives the union side of the bargaining more strength.

Originally endorsed in 2020, on 8th March 2023, Coles RAFFWU members unanimously endorsed their claims for bargaining at Coles.

RAFFWU’s campaigns have forced Coles Supermarkets to the bargaining table, and any Coles workers who thinks their conditions could be better, or who would like to protect the conditions they have now, should join the union fighting for Coles workers.

RAFFWU have runs on the board here. In 2015,  casual loading and junior rates were increased. In 2017, the union’s campaigns returned penalty rates, overtime rates and other conditions worth over $100 million per year. However, the 2017 agreement reduced other worker rights. RAFFWU was the only union running a Vote No campaign, feeling that workers deserved a better deal.

Ever since early 2020 RAFFWU has been campaigning to get Coles to the negotiating table.

The union represents members every day at Coles – including in bargaining, in disputes, in disciplinary matters, in tribunals, in courts. Representation, advocacy and campaigning is what RAFFWU does  for members at Coles. The union participated in all 2017 bargaining meetings with Coles and represents members in bargaining. Right now Coles is refusing to negotiate and RAFFWU is the only union doing something about it.

One of the union’s most important claims is for a Living Wage.

Right now, Coles workers are paid much less than a Living Wage. RAFFWU believes all non-casual workers should be paid at least $27 per hour. Penalty rates, casual loading and overtime should be on top of this minimum $27 per hour. This is a Living Wage – 60 per cent of the median full time adult wage in Australia.

Coles doesn’t want to pay living wages, give new rights or return the conditions they stripped in 2017. RAFFWU will fight for member rights.

RAFFWU members are active in store, with workmates and throughout the negotiations.


Right now workers at Coles are paid a minimum wage. It is only a few cents more than the absolute minimum they are allowed to pay. The minimum wage Coles workers are paid is not a Living Wage. A Living Wage is a wage which allows you and your family to not only buy bread and other necessities of life, but also to actually live! Imagine not having to worry about the rent or mortgage, or the next bill, or school costs or all the other things which are part of living. A Living Wage is about more than surviving. It’s about living!

In Australia, a Living Wage is more than $27 per hour.

RAFFWU believes that every worker deserves a Living Wage. Every worker deserves more than $27 per hour before any penalty rates or casual loading. Coles workers deserve a Living Wage.

You can support and/or join RAFFWU by contacting them on 1300 23 98 or via their website at

Join your union! Fight for a Living wage!

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