Skip navigation
We Are Union VTHC
We Are Union Journal
News from the working class
What do you mean, 'Closing the Loopholes'?

Country Road is telling its workers to stop talking about sexual harassment and bullying.

Workers at Country Road tried for months to get the company to act on their complaints of sexual harassment, unwanted touching, bullying and racism. Eventually, out of desperation, they spoke up via the media.  

In response, the South African boss of Woolworths Holdings, Roy Bagattini, told workers “The external attention on our company… can be unsettling and comes at a difficult time for yourselves but also for us as a company”.

You know what else is unsettling Mr Bagattini? Sexual harassment. Bullying. Racism. A corporate culture where staff complaints about safety are ignored for months, but a public relations crisis gets an immediate response.

Union women have been campaigning for companies to take accountability for harassment in workplaces. So as soon as the news dropped, activists descended on Country Road's flagship South Yarra store to plaster it in posters. 

Sign our petition telling Country Road to stop their cover-ups

The snap action and media attention became a public relations nightmare for Country Road. Workers reached out anonymously to thank activists for speaking when they couldn't.

VTHC Assistant Secretary Wil Stracke said "This is a perfect example of why sexual harassment needs to be dealt with as a workplace health and safety issue. Anyone can say “we have a zero tolerance approach to harassment”. Anyone can commission endless reviews. Unless and until Country Road take proactive steps to protect their workers, it's all meaningless."

“If you go to HR with a harassment complaint, their first thought is “how do I protect the company?”. Whilst if you go to your health and safety rep, they think “how do I protect the workers?”. 

“So I would advise the workers at Country Road to start electing OHS reps and get them trained up. Because of changes that we have won, employers have a positive duty of care under OH&S and Sex Discrimination laws and these workers are within their rights to get Worksafe out to investigate'

“Daylight is the best disinfectant. Australian companies need to stop silencing workers through workplace policies, and we need to ban the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements in sexual harassment cases".

Sign our petition telling Country Road to stop their cover-ups

Sign up here to hear about future actions against companies that ignore sexual harassment.