Coles forced into Distribution Centre bypass during workers strike

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 27th July 2016

Coles has been forced to establish an alternative distribution measure for perishable items sold in its Victorian and Tasmania supermarkets whilst employees at its usual Distribution Centre go on strike.

According to the ABC, workers at the Polar Fresh distribution centre in Truganina in Melbourne have gone on strike indefinitely asking for better pay and job security for casual employees.

Polar Fresh provides distribution solutions for items that require refrigeration. It was established by Costa Logistics and Swire Cold, primarily for Coles storage in July 2004 as a joint venture between the two companies.

Outside of Truganina, Polar Fresh has a distribution centre in Eastern Creek in Sydney and in Parkinson in Brisbane. Its Victorian and Queensland sites were built after Polar Fresh won the contract to be the cold-store distribution centre for Coles in those states.

Its Truganina centre was opened in May 2007 and delivers 1.4 million cartons per week to 216 Coles supermarkets across Victoria and Tasmania. The centre handles items which require refrigeration including dairy products, chicken and other types of fresh meat.

The centre hires full time, part time and casual employees working across three shifts each day. Striking employees are asking for all casual roles to be made into permeant ones. Polar Fresh’s website says it currently employs over 1, 500 employees across its entire network.

The dispute is to be heard by the Fair Work Commission on 27 July 2016.