Workers Protest Against Bullying

The transport giant Linfox has had to deal with allegations of bullying within its ranks from hundreds of employees who took to the streets last week.

More than 100 workers employed at a Coles distribution centre, protested during their lunch break last week because of bullying at Truganina. This was the second demonstration in 3 days.

Union delegates from the National Union of Workers (NUW) Michael Manolitsis and Ken Price were stood down indefinitely without pay after speaking to the media.

Mr Manolitsis spoke to the media about the alleged bullying, saying that it was going on for too long. Some of the bullying incidents involved managers throwing people’s lunches in the bin, keys and private property as well as intimidation. Sometimes workers were locked out if they were even 30 seconds late for work.

An article on explained:

1“Intimidating casuals against each other – you know, if they make a mistake, you can forget about your shift next week.’’

A St Albans worker, who the Weekly has chosen not to identify, said workers were too scared to report injuries. He said he had worked with a broken toe.

Former casual worker and Tarneit resident Penny Palmer said that after another casual worker called her a “f….ing whore,” they both received no more shifts.

“A full-time person came and asked me if I was OK; he just said that he reported it because that person shouldn’t have spoken to me like that. Then the next day, no work. And the agency didn’t know what happened.”

Linfox group communications manager Gary Max said two workers were stood down for conducting unauthorised interviews with the media.

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Linfox spokesman said the union had used the site to represent issues to the media. He said that only 200 of the 700 people employed at the site were complaining about bullying and these people were all represented by the NUW. He believes that the protests had less to do with bullying and more to do with a targeted campaign by the NUW to build up its membership because most of the others on the site are affiliated with the Transport Workers Union.

But the NUW means business, now according to an alert on the NUW website, Coles workers are standing behind the allegations of their colleagues at Linfox. Workers from the Coles Somerton and Coles Polar Fresh warehouses have signed a petition calling on management at the Linfox Cole warehouse to end bullying at that site.

All three warehouses work for Coles and the workers at the three sheds are sticking together to support Linfox Coles workers who are allegedly subjected to bullying, for over a year.

The workers want Linfox to bring an end to bullying, harassment, intimidation and sexual harassment on the site. The post on the union’s website goes on to explain:

The petition demands Linfox Coles management to re-instate the two delegates it stood down for speaking publicly about the bullying and to openly investigate and take action against bullying.

It also calls on Linfox Coles to reinstate Penny Palmer, a worker who was sacked after she was sexually bullied at work.


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