‘Getting as close to a cartel as you can’: Small business owners slam Coles, Woolworths and unions, claiming they control Australia’s economy
- Peter Strong, head of the Council of Small Business Australia, criticizes the duopoly
- He will deliver a scathing speech at the National Press Club in Canberra
- Mr Strong criticizes Coles and Woolworths and their relationship with unions
Coles and Woolworths operate like ‘cartels’, deciding Australia’s economic health, claims one small business owner.
Council of Small Business Australia leader Peter Strong is set to launch a scathing attack on the country’s largest supermarkets and their relationship with unions in a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra today.
Mr Strong says the retail trade union – the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) – has negotiated its affiliate workers at Coles and Woolworths to accept an hour and a half Sunday wages, while small businesses have to pay double the time.
Peter Strong, CEO of the Council of Small Business of Australia, will speak at the National Press Club in Canberra
“Put simply, our economic health is decided by these three organizations,” he said.
Mr Strong claims the decision “meant small shops weren’t open on Sundays”, meaning more shoppers were turning to the duopoly.
“Coles and Woolworths have not increased their market share through improved service or better, cheaper products, but through attrition and the ability to handle increased costs that competitors cannot,” he said.
Mr Strong also devastated the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).
“Other than the FWC/ACTU and the duopoly/SDA partnership – (as close as you can get to a cartel without actually being one) – who else governs Australia?” he said.
Mr Strong will launch a scathing attack on the country’s largest supermarkets and their relationship with unions
He described the FWC as an “elite institution” that “does not like to take reality into account”.
Mr Strong also warned that pharmacies and newsagents should not be taken over by the big supermarkets.
“No high street pharmacy and newsagent is going to destroy the strip shopping and see that the only place to shop is a big mall full of franchises and big supermarkets,” he said.
“I heard recently that the duopoly also wants hairdressers in their shops. Please do not. Also gyms – please no – enough.”
Mr Strong also lashed out at business owners, labeling the Westfield mall operators “lowlifes”.
Mr Strong also warned that pharmacies and newsagents should not be taken over by the big supermarkets
“The biggest landlords are corporate parasites who manipulate city planning processes in such a way that their malls are the only place to shop,” he said.
In a slashing speech aimed at big business, Mr Strong praised Small Business Secretary Bruce Billson.
In the most recent federal budget, small businesses received a $5.5 billion package of measures.
These included immediate tax deductions for assets costing less than $20,000 and a lower tax rate for companies with annual sales of less than $2 million.
“There’s a lot of hope with Billson,” said Mr. Strong.