In September 2020, RAFFWU members at Woolworths Lilydale launched a campaign for a safer workplace – including by demanding carpark lights be kept on at night when workers return to their cars. We won, but then the bosses targeted activists. Their attacks were outrageous and RAFFWU launched a groundbreaking prosecution in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia against the union busting. On 4 March 2022 the Woolworths admitted it had unlawfully tried to union bust activists.
The Court also heard how the Store Manager gloated he was being supported by SDA.
On 22 July 2022 the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia handed down its decision in Retail and Fast Food Workers Union Incorporated v Woolworths Group Limited  FedCFamC2G 578 – the Woolworths Union Busting case.
It brought to an end the long running fight by RAFFWU to hold union busters in Woolworths Group to account for their attacks on RAFFWU and our members. The case involved Senior Management at Woolworths Group targeting RAFFWU Delegate, Lauren Dyer, for raising a dispute about a serious car park safety issue.
The litigation exposed Woolworths kept a secret RAFFWU Tracker – to record issues involving RAFFWU. The litigation also exposed the Store Manager had immediately involved the SDA to help him suppress the safety campaign. RAFFWU has been told many workers who supported the campaign were threatened by SDA officials that their jobs were under threat unless they apologised to the Store Manager.
In response to the case Woolworths Group has promised to recognise the standing of RAFFWU as a union of workers, the Freedom of Association of our members and the right of RAFFWU to represent our members. Woolworths Group has issued guidance to its Store Managers and HR/People Services staff. Woolworths apologised, in writing, to Lauren and paid her $3000 compensation.
Obviously, RAFFWU is not so naive as to believe Woolworths Group will suddenly change and treat workers with dignity and respect. We will continue to actively pursue Woolworths Group, the business partner of SDA, wherever and whenever it attacks workers.
This case identifies that there is only one Union on the side of Woolworths non-meat workers – RAFFWU. While we were fighting for the safety of workers, SDA was threatening workers to get apologies and gifts for the Store Manager. Our members ensured the safety issue was fixed but were then pursued by the National Employee Relations Manager.
Download the Full Judgement here:
Retail and Fast Food Workers Union Incorporated v Woolworths Group Limited  FedCFamC2G 578
Download the Store Manager Guidance and HR Fact Sheet here: 220218 Woolworths Union Busting Repentance – Store & HR Notices
When workers rights come under attack, stand up fight back!