Union members have stood together at Carpet Court locations around the country, calling on the retailer to stand up for workers who are facing deep wage cuts from major supplier Tuftmaster Carpets.
CFMEU Manufacturing member and Tuftmaster Quality Control worker Dijana Jovanoska felt betrayed by the company that she and her colleagues had invested so much in.
“Two years ago, we were told we are family. That was a lie,” she said.
“We invested more than money in this place. More than twenty, thirty years people have been working at this company and have invested their sweat and hard work,” Dijana said.
Tuftmaster have threatened to terminate an enterprise agreement, which will reduce workers’ conditions back to minimum levels outlined in the Award.
This decision could undo decades of bargaining work and would scrap many workplace rights such as long-standing redundancy packages from a maximum of 70 weeks down to 12.
Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus explained that the undoing of bargaining efforts was part of a larger problem in Australia where employers have been exploiting a weakened bargaining system at a cost to workers.
“At the moment, [Tuftmaster] is using the loopholes in our broken workplaces laws to try and slash their pay and slash their rights,” McManus said.
“These workers have worked throughout the pandemic. They’re low paid workers who have worked for a very long time to protect their job security and protect their pay.”
Tuftmaster has also cut workers’ wages in real terms by freezing their wages for almost three years despite inflation expected to reach seven per cent by December.
“Cost-of-living is absolutely killing working people. Inflation at the moment, the cost of essentials, the cost of rent, the cost of groceries – all of those things are going up, but wages are not,” McManus said.
Dijana called on Tuftmaster to back their workers and recognise their dedication to the company.
“We are running this place, we built this place,” she said.
“It’s about time management opened their eyes and respect the hard work we’re doing for them.”
McManus said that if Tuftmaster weren’t willing to acknowledge and meet demands, the union movement was ready to back up Tuftmaster’s workers in their fight.
The Australian union movement has always treated labour as more than something to be bought and sold. Workers are people first.
That’s why union members stand together for better workplace conditions and protected workers’ rights. Always.