Union members will be holding a series of rallies today at Carpet Court locations around the country, calling on the retailer to stand up for workers who are facing deep cuts to pay and redundancy provisions from major supplier Tuftmaster Carpets.

Tuftmaster are threatening to terminate an enterprise agreement, which will reduce workers’ conditions back to the award, scrapping long-standing redundancy packages from a maximum of 70 weeks down to 12. Tuftmaster also cut workers’ wages in real terms by freezing their wages for almost three years while inflation is expected to reach 7 per cent by December.

Nationwide rallies will be held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Launceston.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

“Carpet Court has a choice to make, between backing the workers that produce the products they sell or backing a business which is seeking to slash their wages. Consumers deserve to know where they stand. Many of these workers earn close to $25/hour now and are struggling with the cost of living.

“The bargaining system should be the engine of wage growth, but it hasn’t been delivering for workers for years – it’s broken.

“Employers should not have the power to threaten workers with cutting their pay during bargaining negotiations. The law was never supposed to work this way but seven years ago employers found a loophole and they have been using it ever since to keep wages low. This has to change if we are to stop pay cuts.

“Striking is always a last resort, and unfortunately Tuftmasters has backed their workers into a corner. Tuftmaster workers aren’t asking for too much, they just want to support their families and keep their pay and conditions intact during a cost-of-living crisis.”