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Lecturer posed as union ‘shoppie’.

6 December 2016 228 views No Comment

A rebel union set up in opposition to the main shop assistants union is facing claims of deception for using a university lecturer posing as a shelf stacker in a promotional video on its website.

La Trobe University academic Lachlan Clohesy, an expert in Soviet infiltration and executive member of the hard-Left National Tertiary Education Union, appears in the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union video posing as a retail worker claiming he is owed thousands in unpaid salary from stacking shelves at Coles.

The video from the union, which has been under fire over the credibility of its claims that proposed deals between the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association and retailers will cost workers hundreds of millions of dollars, includes no information to say those appearing in it were not shop workers.

It’s a shame that this so-called union, which has been built on the lie that retail workers were being ripped of billions, is now promoting itself using a fake shoppie, he said.

I’ve seen this before — political extremists taking over unions to promote their agenda and use workers as pawns. History shows it never ends well.

Rebel boss Josh Cullinan yesterday said Mr Clohesy and another actor in the video were just people playing roles — and did not work in the retail sector as they claimed in the video.

He rejected the suggestion it was deceitful to do this without a disclaimer and said it was not possible to use real retail workers in the video because of the fear of retribution from employers.

He says Mr Clohesy had worked for Coles and Woolworths as a casual but he did not deny he was not a current Coles employee.

Mr Clohesy did not comment.

Mr Clohesy’s background as a scholar has focused on Soviet infiltration in Australian post-war history, and his La Trobe University academic profile says he is working on a book with Ross Fitzgerald on communist espionage in Australia.

The SDA, Australia’s largest union, is involved in a brawl with its rival, which is yet to be registered as a union and is being financed by crowd-funding.

The new association claims proposed deals between the SDA and major retailers sell out workers, an allegation rejected by the SDA, which says the process of rolling up penalty rates increased wages for most employees and had been adopted by other unions.

The SDA-negotiated deal with Coles, which was yet to be ratified, reduces penalty rates for a minority of workers on some weekend shifts but is said to have the potential to increase earnings for Monday-to-Friday employees by $100 a week.

Rick Wallace, The Australian, December 6, 2016

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