Union led protests against Harvey Norman have sparked absolute chaos on social media this week and honestly, we love to see it.
The drama kicked-off late last week when workers protested outside Harvey Norman stores around the country in support of a much-needed pay increase for 2.2 million workers who rely on increases to award rates of pay.
Harvey Norman doubled company profits in the last 6 months, with company chairman Gerry Harvey boasting that coronavirus was “an opportunity” that saw his company profits increase by 116%.
But despite this success, their big business lobbyists continue to argue for real wage cuts for working people. Not cool.
On top of lobbying against the very livelihoods of their own workers, there’s also the little matter of $22 million in JobKeeper payments that the company is refusing to pay back – despite having doubled their profits to $462 million during the pandemic. Really, really, not cool.
It’s been especially hard to ignore this display of pretty despicable corporate greed in a week where Victorian workers entered another lockdown with no JobKeeper support left for them.
As ACTU Secretary Sally McManus tweeted – “Businesses and workers need JobKeeper in Victoria at the moment. The $22mil Harvey Norman never needed could be spread around to all the casuals left high & dry. Pay it back.”
Of course, Harvey Norman may have missed this message from McManus, because like so many others criticising Harvey Norman, she found herself blocked by the retail giant.
That’s right. Rather than taking accountability for its actions, Harvey Norman took the unusual step of using its Twitter account to lash out and block critics.
It was a bold move that spectacularly backfired, with #BoycottHarveyNorman becoming a trending topic and many Twitter users wearing their block as a badge of honour.
For others, like comedian Celeste Barber, a block couldn’t come soon enough.
As the boycott movement continued to grow, it all got a bit much for Harvey Norman, who finally bowed out with a spectacular own goal – deleting their account.
Amazing stuff. As satirists The Chaser observed in their spot-on spruiker stunt, “There’s absolutely no one one that’s off limits when it comes to blocking.”
Of course, this case study in social media mismanagement would be much funnier if the stakes were not so high. Working Australians desperately need a pay rise, and our economic recovery depends on it.
“An increase to minimum wage would help those who need it most with about half of award wage workers engaged in insecure casual jobs,” said ACTU Secretary Sally McManus.
“Increasing minimum wage would impact over 2.2 million award dependant workers and beyond reducing financial stress on low wage workers, would generate local spending and economic growth.”