Australia: Union alliance and Woolworths partnership should support all workers

The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) congratulates Woolworths Group and the Retail Supply Chain Alliance (RSCA) on their recently agreed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

“We congratulate the RSCA and Woolworths on this step forward in their working relationship. We welcome the support of all workers in the retail supply chain, including those that work within the horticulture industry,” said AFPA CEO Michael Rogers. The AFPA earlier also supported the re-signing of an Ethical Supply Chain Accord between the RSCA and Coles and outlined the importance of enforcement, particularly in relation to recent changes to the piecework provisions within the Horticulture Award.

“We know that the changes to the Horticulture Award will set a clear and enforceable standard for employers and will make identifying non-compliance with the Award simpler for workers, regulatory agencies, unions, and supply chain stakeholders,” said Mr. Rogers. The AFPA has been vocal in calling for enforcement of the new piece rate standards and ensuring that there is a level playing field among all producers in terms of compliance.

“This MoU is important because it demonstrates a commitment from Woolworths to only source fresh produce from suppliers that can meet a demonstrated standard. From our perspective, this MoU also outlines the RSCA’s commitment to reporting employers that aren’t meeting standards to relevant regulators for action. This mechanism will ensure that only compliant suppliers are participating in the supply chain and that the new provisions in the Award are enforced,” said Mr. Rogers. The AFPA continues to encourage all parts of the supply chain to refer non-compliance from employers to relevant authorities. “Regulators like FWO, Australian Border Force, and state labor hired licensing authorities have critically important roles in ensuring compliance. However, they are only as good as the information that they receive. In terms of ensuring ethical retail supply chains and compliance with the Award, we continue to encourage the RSCA and Woolworths to report any allegations of wrong-doing or non-compliance to the relevant regulator,” said Mr. Rogers.

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