There is widespread timber worker, contractor, and community support across the country for the COVID-19-Safe action that took place on Wednesday morning at Bunnings Traralgon in defence of forestry jobs. Four log trucks blocked the entrance to their local Bunnings’ car park in protest of Bunnings’ heartless and ill-informed decision announced earlier this month to stop stocking local hardwood timber in their stores.
The action is a sign of things to come at Bunnings Warehouses across Australia if they do not agree to reverse their ban on local timber. “Timber workers will not sit back and be pushed around by big-end of town fat cats like those in Bunnings and Wesfarmers head offices” said Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union National Secretary Mr Michael O’Connor.
“Regional Victoria is facing a jobs crisis, Bunnings’ short-sited decision has added to the continued uncertainty in the industry and contractors are bearing the brunt of this. Bunnings must reverse their local timber ban immediately” said Australian Forest Contractors Association General Manager Ms Stacey Gardner.
“Bunnings need to explain why they have taken a hard-line against local workers, contractors and businesses, a line which decimates jobs, families and communities and given themselves the green light to import timber from Indonesian rainforests” said community advocate Ms Felecia Stevenson.
Backing up the blockade, hundreds of sawmill workers, contractors, and their crews are phoning Bunnings head office in Hawthorn East calling for the reversal of the decision. Thousands of Australians have now committed to boycotting Bunnings until they reverse their local timber ban.
COVID-19 has to date prevented larger rallies, demonstrations, and actions at Bunnings’ busier warehouses such as those in Metropolitan Melbourne, however once it is safe to do so and COVID-19 restrictions ease they can expect similar action nationally.