Update: Open Letter to Coles and Woolworths – Shareholder Resolution

The open letter to Coles and Woolworths was covered by the New Daily and the supermarkets have written a response to our letter. The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), who have been engaging both supermarkets since 2017, have prepared a response to the supermarkets. You can find the response here:

ACCR Response

What’s next? A Shareholder Resolution!

Justine Nolan, Laurie Berg and Martijn Boersma have supported a shareholder resolution by ACCR that will be heard at the Coles AGM on the 13th November 2019. You can help by calling on UniSuper to support the resolution. All you need to do is send them a message here. You can use the sample text below, copy and paste, or write your own.

Dear Unisuper,

As one of your members, I recently signed an open letter that called on Australia’s biggest supermarkets to address modern slavery and labour violations in their supply chains.

I am writing to you now to express my support for the shareholder resolution that has been put to Coles Ltd. by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility. regarding modern slavery in Coles’ operations and supply chains.

The only way to deal with the types of risks that we see in Coles supply chain is to ensure that workers and their unions are jointly involved in a supplier certification scheme.

I call on UniSuper to vote in favour of this resolution.

Kind regards,

[Name, Title]

Like our letter, the shareholder resolution calls on Coles to adopt core principles of worker-driven social responsibility in their ethical sourcing policies and supplier requirements for their domestic fresh food supply chains, including:

  1. Supplier accreditation and compliance to be determined through multi-stakeholder approach, involving workers and the representative organisation(s) of their own choosing.
  2. Workers to receive peer-led labour rights education with the involvement of representative organisation(s) of their own choosing.
  3. Worker-led grievance procedures that involve the representative organisation(s) of workers’ own choosing in the resolution of complaints.

Just this week, we’ve seen another article about wage theft and union busting on the farms supplying the major supermarkets. This time involving the boss and chairman of industry lobby group AusVeg, who have been developing an industry certification scheme for farms. It is another reason why it is so important to have workers and their trade unions in any scheme that looks to regulate and certify supply chains.

We are calling on all the academics who signed onto the letter to email UniSuper and call on them to support the resolution.

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