Supermarket giant Coles must show respect for secure jobs for its entire workforce by helping to resolve a dispute at its distribution warehouse in Somerton.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said workers had gone on strike because they were being treated as second class by a dodgy deal between Coles and Toll Group to outsource the workforce at the warehouse.

Instead of denying responsibility for the workers, Coles should insist that Toll sits down to bargain in good faith with the workers, Ms Kearney said.

“The 600 Somerton employees are simply seeking the right to be treated the same as other Coles warehouse workers,” Ms Kearney said.

“What they want is simple: to be treated with dignity, to be paid a shift loading for working at night, to have rostered days off to spend with their family. These are loyal workers contributing to a profitable company, and they should have jobs they can rely on.

“Other Coles warehouse workers are directly employed by the company and have these rights. But this shows what happens when large companies outsource their workforce to gain even bigger profits by squeezing more from the workers who produce those profits.

“Australian unions want to see an end to these types of dodgy deals which allow major companies to avoid their responsibilities to provide secure jobs.”

Ms Kearney said Toll must stop the bullying threats against workers taking legal industrial action and genuinely attempt to resolve the dispute.

“Toll has been found not to be bargaining in good faith,” she said. “Coles should be looking after its customers and its workers by urging Toll to do the right thing.”