Booksellers write the next chapter of their struggle – Online Solidarity

Workers at the Readings bookstore chain in Melbourne are closing in on an inaugural company agreement.

Sally, a shop steward at the Hawthorn branch, said Solidarity that by standing firm, they had won a series of concessions from management, including improved sick leave, domestic violence leave, better casual conversion, dispute resolution procedures and more.

But management has still not responded to workers’ demand for a minimum rate of $26 an hour, offering 67 cents less an hour.

Sally spoke at a vibrant solidarity rally outside the Carlton store on Saturday: “I want a salary that pays my rent and allows me to support my family.”

The workers, members of the Retail and Fast Food Restaurant Workers Union (RAFFWU) voted on 21 forms of industrial action, the outcome of which will be announced next week.

But management backed out of negotiations and put the substandard deal to an all-staff (non-union) vote.

The rally was also addressed by Bruce, a warehouse worker and United Workers Union delegate, who told the crowd about his victory in the western suburbs last year.

“Keep fighting, hold the line and show Readings union power,” he said.

Ender, a steward at the Carlton store, and Clare, a steward at the Readings warehouse, also spoke.

The priority now is to get the most no votes in the ballot from all staff and prepare to start using tougher industry tactics to bring management into line.

By David Glanz

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