Woolworths threatens action over 'unlawful' campaign
30/07/2012 - Woolworths has threatened the Australian Workers Union with legal action over a campaign that mocks and attacks the supermarket's "Australianness". Kym Agius
The AWU launched the "Tell Woolworths" campaign to pressure the supermarket giant over a decision by Caltex to close its Kurnell oil refinery in Sydney, with a loss of up to 700 jobs.
Caltex supplies Woolworths with petrol, and the alliance has 600 co-branded petrol stations across Australia. The NSW petrol stations will shift to imported fuel when Kurnell's output stops in 2014.
The union wants Woolworths to resist the move, urging workers to "tell Woolworths to fill up on Aussie fuel".
In a legal letter obtained by reporters, Woolworths' lawyers said aspects of the campaign were unlawful and called on the AWU to take down campaign material on its website.
It said the union was unfairly attacking the retail giant's new advertising theme "Woolworths is proud to be Aussie through and through".
"The AWU has sought to express pressure on Woolworths by mocking Woolworths' new advertising campaign and impugning its authenticity," the letter said.
The union's distribution of flyers and T-shirts using an unauthorised version of Woolworths' logo was infringing on copyright, it said.
AWU national secretary Paul Howes reproached the retailer, noting it had long called itself the "Australian fresh food people", he said.
"They should be the Australian fresh fuel people as well," he told a Queensland Media Club luncheon on Friday.
He said the union would not drop the campaign, launched on July 10, or take down the campaign material.
It would step up the assault this weekend by launching advertisements in newspapers.
"Unfortunately Woolworths have tried to use legal tactics .... to intimidate oil workers across the country, to shut down debate in this nation about where their products are sourced from, and truth in advertising," he said.
"If they think that I am going to be scared and intimidated or bullied or this union is going to be shut down by legal threats and bully-boy tactics, then they have got another think coming."
Howes stopped short of calling for Australians to boycott Woolworths' bowsers.
Fast food will not attract a "fat tax" and the government will instead rely...
The accommodation industry is enthusiastic about the pro-business pledges...
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a Central...
The Australian Made Campaign does not back the 2013 Competition and...
SkyCity Entertainment Group has agreed to buy Queenstown's Wharf Casino for...