Jessica Barnes, President

In more than 15 years as a retail worker, Jessica has worked as a Sales Assistant and Store Manager at stores such as EB Games, Oxfam Shop and Oroton. She currently works at L’Occitane en Provence. While at Oxfam Shop, Jessica completed a Store Manager training program, receiving a Diploma in Retail Management.

Jessica completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Political Science/International Relations and English Literature/Writing at The University of Newcastle.

Jessica is passionate about workers’ rights and the advancement of women in the workplace. She would like to help promote union membership and activism amongst workers, particularly younger workers and women.

Rose Gosper, Vice President

Rose has worked in retail for over 15 years. She has worked for both small and large retailers, including roles at various print shops, Franklins Supermarket, and currently in retail tile sales. Rose holds a Bachelor of Visual Communications.

Rose believes that the immense collective power of the retail and fast food workforce has long gone under-utilised, allowing the erosion of workers’ rights. She is proud to be a part of a grassroots union that is uniting this workforce in a fightback for the dignity and pay they deserve.

Josh Cullinan, Secretary

Josh has over 20 years of experience representing workers in diverse industries, from major production and higher education to retail and fast food. Josh also worked at Woolworths for three years and across a range of service stations.

A successful campaigner, Josh’s campaign for casual workers won the ACTU Best Workplace Campaign Award in 2013. Josh has led advocacy that has returned millions of dollars in wages to workers and stopped union-busting in its tracks. In 2015, Josh raised the red flag over the Coles enterprise agreement – his work was instrumental in exposing the massive theft of penalty rates across the retail and fast food sectors. Now he leads the fight for members of the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union.

James Searle, Treasurer

James has 10 years experience working in the retail and fast food industry, including at Pizza Hut, Coles and Woolworths. Like so many others, James has experienced the impact of stolen penalty rates. 

As a student activist James led successful campaigns to restore funding to student union representation and welfare services, and to return important facilities and amenities lost as a result of voluntary student unionism. In 2012, James fought for and won fair treatment and pay for casual workers, and in 2015 he successfully fought to prevent the privatisation of a campus co-operative.

James Searle

Al-Aabid Chowdhury, Committee Member

Al-Aabid has been a retail worker for over five years, and is currently working at Beacon Lighting in Sydney. He has seen how big business increasingly undermines working conditions by choosing to employ workers on insecure contracts, running stores on lean rosters and maintaining unsuitable working conditions. He is interested in how we engage migrant workers, international students and young people of colour with the union, and is committed to building a more inclusive union movement. He holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from the University of Sydney.

 Michael Johnstone, Committee Member

Michael is passionate about improving the lives of retail and fast food workers. Michael commenced working at Woolworths in 2011 and has been active in his workplace as a delegate and health and safety representative, fighting to ensure that his colleagues are treated with respect and that they work in a healthy and safe workplace. Michael has participated in enterprise bargaining with Woolworths and in early 2016 exposed the huge cost paid by Woolworths workers earning less than the minimum Award wages. Michael is now also the Victorian Organiser for RAFFWU.

Michael Johnstone

Loukas Kakogiannis, Committee Member

Loukas worked at Woolworths from 2011 to 2019. In 2018 he became the RAFFWU delegate for Woolworths Moorabbin where he led a safety campaign calling upon Woolworths to put the safety of staff before profits. In 2018 Loukas applied for a backdated termination of the 2012 Woolworths enterprise agreement, an application which targeted over $1 billion in wages stripped under old, rotten SDA agreements. That case was undermined when SDA and Woolworths cut a new deal.

Loukas believes in RAFFWU’s ability to take on the big retailers through worker-led, militant trade unionism. Loukas commenced as our Sydney and Surrounds organiser in 2019.

Bill Storey Smith, Committee Member

Bill has worked for Coles since 2012, and is the RAFFWU Queensland Convenor. Continually frustrated by below-Award wages and his co-workers’ fight for industrial rights, Bill has helped build the union in South East Queensland. Bill uses his knowledge, skills, life experience and passion to #standupfightback for member interests both in and out of the workplace. Bill is now also the South East Queensland Organiser for RAFFWU.

Bill Storey Smith

Nicolas Lourenco, Committee Member

Nicolas has been working in the retail and fast food industry for 10 years, including at KFC and Coles, and is currently a union delegate and health and safety representative at the Vegan Grocery Store. Nicolas holds a Bachelor of International Studies (International Relations and French) and is currently completing a Master of Arts (Research) in Political Economy.

Nicolas has been involved in student unionism, political activism, and unionism inside and outside the workplace since 2019. In his career, Nicolas has seen the effects of below-Award rate enterprise agreements being replaced after RAFFWU intervention. Nicolas believes that worker-led, militant trade unionism is key in winning pay and condition improvements and building a fairer society for all workers.