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Workplace safety is a critical issue for retail and fast food workers.

Every worker is entitled to a safe and healthy work environment. Every employer has a duty of care to workers, to ensure that risks to health and safety are minimised or eliminated.

Too often we hear from our members about workplace violence, bullying, harassment, workplace hazards and other safety issues.

Workers aren’t to blame for not “de-escalating” customers who assault them. They should not be required to work in extreme heat or cold. Workers should be provided with the appropriate training, equipment and uniforms for their work tasks. They should be protected from bullying, belittling or other harassment in the workplace.

Workers should never be required to work in unsafe conditions. Every worker has the right to remove themselves from an imminent risk to their safety.

If you’re not safe at work, it’s time to hold your employer to account. The most effective way to do this is to organise with your fellow workers.

RAFFWU members organise for workplace safety

Our members have successfully campaigned to improve their safety at workplaces across Australia.

Some of these campaigns have been store-specific. Workers at Woolworths Moorabbin, for instance, were facing rising levels of assault from customers. So they organised in in their store and with support from the local community for on-site security guards.

RAFFWU members at Big W Noosa organised because their store managers removed anti-fatigue safety matting without consulting workers. In 2022, the Fair Work Commission found that management’s behaviour was “unjust and unreasonable”, and praised the RAFFWU members who had the determination to press the case.

When workers organise for their safety and are backed by a fighting union, workers can win.

Our members have organised to combat workplace sexual harassment, including at JB HiFi and McDonald’s.

And in 2023, when Coles and Woolworths workers took unprecedented industrial action in the Australian supermarket sector, one of the issues they organised for was better workplace safety.

We help union members talk to their co-workers about how organising and campaigning together can achieve a safer workplace.

It’s time to fight back. Join us today and make your workplace a safe place.

If you’re an existing RAFFWU member and your workplace is unsafe for any reason, contact us and we can help you.

View our other Industry Campaigns