My misfortune with Quix
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I just thought I would add this stuff so that everyone around the world could know how a certain multi-national company operates. How the company treats the staff, how they regard health and safety regulations and the environment.
The company I'm talking about is called STRASBURGER ENTERPRISES (PROPERTIES) PTY LTD trading as QUIX FOODSTORES (commonly known as Mobil Quix, a petrol station/convenience store).

I was unfortunate enough to work for this company from March 1996 to August 1998. I was involved in an armed holdup in November 1997 and this is what happened when I tried to improve the safety and security.
This is a story of intimidation, harassment, victimisation by supposedly professional management personnel who, instead of attempting to improve staff safety, would go out of their way to do the opposite.
The Brief Version
This is just a quick version of what happened, just in case you don't want to read all of the details.
I was involved in an armed robbery while working alone at night, because of this and the lack of security in the store I decided to form an Occupational Health and Safety workgroup comprising all of the store staff. The company I worked for did not believe in security alarms (I was told this by the State Manager) and the ONLY security we had at night was a telephone plus indoor video cameras with such a poor quality that faces were indistinguishable (they never replaced the tapes).
We eventually got a holdup-alarm with remote button, warning signs on the door, regular monitoring of staff working alone at night and the front doors fixed so that we could lock them. (however they refused to block off the end of the counter from customer access). But this only came about after warnings and threats of legal action from the Department of Industrial Affairs, as this company consistantly ignored my letters and requests and even argued with Government Inspectors.
Despite Government legislation prohibiting anyone attempting to coerce or intimidate duly elected Health and Safety representatives (me), this was done constantly for months until I finally decided to leave all of these fools to their own devices.
From what I saw and the dealings I had with this company, it would appear that the ONLY thing that any of the management care about is themselves. The ONLY time ANY of the management did anything to benefit employees of this company was if they would find themselves in trouble if they didn't do it! Apparently integrity, consideration, care and pride are not prerequisites for a managerial position within this company.
I believe Mobil/Quix has about 60 stores throughout Australia and as far as I know the store I worked at was the ONLY one to be provided with ANY form of security. To my knowledge this company has NOT installed any form of staff protection or security in ANY of it's other stores. This means that if there is an armed robbery and the offenders cut the phone line then the staff member is completely alone with no means of obtaining help.
If after reading this, you feel the same way that I do towards this company and its pathetic management, you can put in your two cents worth by telling three particularly pathetic management personnel what you think..Adam Rytenskild, Sam Pupillo and Pat Morton.
I did have the EMail addresses for the above named people listed here, but it seems that during March 1999 they all changed their Email addresses. I can only deduce that they must have been getting a lot of unsolicited mail which wasn't to their liking. I guess there is a God, after all!

The store I worked at is situated in Noarlunga/Christes Beach in South Australia. This area has a very high proportion of single/unmarried mothers, low income families/individuals, unemployed and lots of teenagers with nothing to do.
I used to work the "drag" shift usually 3-4 nights a week from 11-12 pm to 7am. The weeknights would include the usual teenagers who didn't seem to have a life and the occasional drunk, and the weekends would bring out all of the low-lifes, troublemakers, the wannabe tough guys who watch too many Rambo movies, the showoffs, dickheads, shopstealers and a broad range of ferral nightcrawlers who had trouble putting more than a couple of two syllable words into a sentence.
Every week there would be some problem, usually with the teenagers who wandered around in "gangs" of between 3 and 23. They would steal everything that wasn't screwed down and then hang around outside, showing off by throwing food, drink or anything else around, be abusive and then disappear into the night like meek bunny rabbits when the police arrived.

My job
During the night the operator (me) was required to go outside and clean the petrol pumps, pick up the rubbish, hose the driveways etc, in simple words all the dirty jobs. This was done usually around 2-3am when it's dark, at an isolated location where there isn't anyone around for several kilometres, alone and with absolutely zero security. This company did not believe in hold-up alarms, (the Area Manager told me this) so the only security we had were indoor video cameras with tapes that they never changed, and a telephone.
The robbery
On the 4th of November 1997 at 1.35am a female entered the store, she wandered around for a while, then asked me to come over and check a price. When I walked back to the counter she followed me behind it, put her hand in her bag and said she had a gun and to hand over the money or she'd shoot me. I said no, turned around, picked up a camera that I always kept behind the counter and said "I'll tell you what I will do.", and then I took her picture. (This picture was scanned from a newspaper. The woman had a drug habit, a baby, lived close to the service station and apparently often came in during the day.)
She then took a kitchen knife out of her bag, waved it around at me and said "Give me the money or I'll slice ya open and spread ya guts all over the fuckin' walls". She started to become agitated so I opened the register and let her take the money. There were other customers in and outside the store at the time, but they all seemed to vanish when this was happening. After she left, I called the police, did all the paperwork, gave them the film and then finished all my jobs until about 5.00am, when I called the store manager. I couldn't see much point in waking anyone earlier as everything had been done that could be done.
Eventually I was criticised by the Area Manager (Pat Morton) for taking this person's picture and for not ringing the manager straight away. No mention was made of the fact that during the hold-up no-one was injured, there was no damage to the store, the next day she was caught and eventually all the money was returned, all because of what I did. The store security video was of such a poor quality that the only detail of the female was that she was wearing a cap and a baggy top.
A few months later, when the female found out that she would be going to trial, she returned the money to the store and sent a letter saying how "sorry" she was.
About a week after the hold-up a Police Officer completed an inspection of the store's security and gave a written report to the store Assistant Manager (Craig Duncan). This report was "lost" by the store management and apparently was not passed on to senior management.
Setting up the Health and Safety Work Group
During November of 1997 there was a hold-up just about every day in the suburbs, so during January of 1998 I thought I would try to improve the security at the store so that we could all feel a little bit safer. I asked all the other casual staff and the manager what they thought about forming a work group in accordance with the State Government's Occupational Health and Safety Act 1986. Everyone thought it would be a good idea, so I got hold of the relevant legislation and said to the manager that we would like to organise a work group.What should have happened is that Senior Management should have contacted me in order to discuss the setting up of the group.
Several weeks went by and nothing was done, so I contacted an Inspector from the Department of Industrial Affairs who then went down to the store under the pretext of a random visit and got the manager (Sarah wilson) off her bum, supposedly to consult with us. She simply said to me that it was OK to form the group, and as no-one from the company consulted with us, we held an election in accordance with the Act and I was elected as the store's Health and Safety representative. As the Act precludes management from participating in a work group unless agreed to by all casual employees (managers are not considered employees under the Act) the management of the store were not included in the group.
The start
The first thing I did was to send a letter on the 26th February to the Area Manager, Pat Morton requesting the minimum requirements for staff safety. ie a door buzzer so that when working alone at night the operator could hear anyone entering the store, and minumum cash signs on the door.
Almost 5 weeks later still nothing had been done, so I sent an EMail to the Regional Manager (Adam Rytenskild) asking what was going on and including a copy of the security inspection report previously carried out by the Police Security Section. Finally on the 6th of April the door buzzer was installed, after 5 weeks of waiting, the best this multi national company could come up with was a $25.00 microwave, ding-dong type doorbell, stuck to the door frame with tape, unreliable and installed by their maintenance man. So the value this company placed on our safety was $25.00.
I placed a
letter on the notice board letting everyone know what had happened and that I had requested an Inspector from the Department of Industrial Affairs to intercede.
Pat Morton then waited until I had finished an 8 hour nightshift, I arrived home at 8.00am, she rang me at 9.00am and criticised me for being critical of this company.
On 6th of May I received a letter from the new Regional Manager (Sam Pupillo) stating the results of the inspectors discussions. They refused to install a remote button to lock the front doors, implying that if there is a suspicious/violent/potentially dangerous customer or occurrence, then we should walk to the front door and lock it with a key. Perhaps he meant that we should ask the suspicious people to wait outside while we lock the door?
Sacking an Employee
On the 1st of May a new employee (David Carson) gave me a note to pass on to the Manager stating that he liked the job, but was not very happy working alone at night without a security system. I passed the note on to the Assistant Manager (Phillip Harding), who then said that I had something to do with writing David's note. The same day, David Carson was told that he was not required for his weekend shifts and then a couple of days later he was told he would not be needed anymore.
Ignoring my letters
On the 22nd of May I sent another letter to Pat Morton, along with a copy of the Police Security Inspection report, requesting that the security problems raised by the report be attended to. The constant strain of trying to get these people to improve security had made me quite ill, with high blood pressure and chest pains. Pat Morton was so unconcerned about this that she didn't even bother answering my letter. As the managerial staff of this company constantly removed any notes or letters that I placed on our store Health and Safety notice board and certain documents seemed to vanish, I sent a copy of this letter along with a cover note to the Senior Inspector (Barry Carter) at the Industrial Affairs.
By the 7th of June I had not been contacted or received a reply to my letter from anyone within this company, so I placed a default notice on the store notice board stating that the end of the counter should be blocked off from customer access and gave Pat Morton two weeks in which to comply. (Failure to comply with this notice carries a maximum penalty of $20,000.) Just prior to the expiry date of the notice Pat Morton questioned whether they should have to comply with the notice by asking an inspector to investigate. The senior inspector (Barry Carter) attended the store and informed me that he had upheld the notice and had given Pat Morton two months in which to comply.
During this time, on the 5th of June, Ewa Jaruzelski (inspector) rang me at home and said that she had told Pat Morton to install a hold-up alarm, she said there were two weeks left in which to install it and if it was not installed within this time, for me to ring her office and an "Improvement Notice" would immediately be issued against this company.
On the 16th June I received a letter from Sam Pupillo which only confirmed what I already knew, including the obvious fact that my role as OHS rep was voluntary and that "This OH & S representative role is not an inherent requirement of your casual position with Quix."
Another hold-up
In the meantime Sarah Wilson, the manager of this store, being a typical example of the type of people this company employs as management personnel, had decided using all the intelligence and commonsense she could muster, to employ a female to work the nightshifts all by herself. On the 23rd of June at 1.50am there was another armed hold-up while the new female employee was working. As the store's Health and Safety representative the management had a legal obligation to immediately inform me of the hold-up, instead, I ended up finding out about it 4 days later from the other staff members. None of the store's managers had bothered to find out what their responsibilities were under the act, and the Company's senior management did not think it necessary to do the same.
In response to this hold-up, Pat Morton (State Manager) put a letter on the notice board stating that there was too much money in the register at the time of the hold-up, and for everyone to keep less in the register!!
My last letter
By this time I was getting fed up with the hypocrisy and constant antagonism of this company's management personnel, so I sent a letter to the Southern Regional Manager (Sam Pupillo). Judging by past experience I did not expect a response, and sure enough, I wasn't disappointed. I wrote a small note explaining what had been going on and placed it and a copy of the letter on the store notice board for everyone to read. I ended up doing this 3 times, everytime I put them on the notice board, one of the managers would take them down and throw them away.
I also sent copies to Barry Carter, along with a covering letter complaining about the actions of Pat Morton and lodging a formal complaint against her for deliberately interfering with my role as the store's Health and Safety Representative in contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
I finally left.
On the 13th August there was a staff meeting at the store, which I have been led to believe was organised by the store manager. At this meeting the 5 casual staff members plus 3 managers signed a letter to remove me from the role as OHS rep. Although the managers signed the letter their signatures were invalid, as they were NOT members of the work group, apparently they were ignorant of the Health and Safety Act. Of the remaining 5 casual staff, two had only been employed for two weeks and had met me for the first time a few days earlier, another had only been employed for about 4-6 weeks and the remaining two had said to me previously that they were happy with what I was doing. I was not invited to the meeting, nor was one other staff member who had been working at this store for 3 years and had supported me in my role as OHS rep.
Because of what the management of this company had done (and hadn't done) under the OHS Act there was to be an audit of this store by the Department of Industrial affairs in relation to occupational health and safety. I decided that it was time for me to leave these people to their own devices, so I quit!
Not long after I became the OHS representative I figured that sooner or later these people would eventually try to get rid of me, so I had previously found some other part time work. Therefore when I decided to leave, it did not come as a surprise, but something that I had been expecting and had planned for, for the previous six months.
A Continuing Investigation
The AUDIT was to have been carried out at 9.30am on the 9th of September 1998 by the Department of Industrial Affairs. The Area Manager was notified in writing of this and State Government legislation provides the necessary legal powers. However, the management of this company did not bother attending this audit, nor did they have the courtesy to notify the Inspector concerned. The Default Notice I issued on the 7th of June that was upheld by Barry Carter, for the counter end to be blocked off was ignored by company management and to this date (25/09/98) has still not been complied with.
I received a letter from Jean Foster (Inspector) stating that there would be a continuing investigation into the manner in which Quix Foodstore's management apply the occupational health and safety legislation.
At the end of October I received this letter from Jean Foster. It simply states that the issues I raised have been investigated, there was no explanation of what action had been taken against this company for ignoring my default notice, or what action had been taken against the State Manager regarding my complaint for her constant interference with my role as Occupational Health and Safety Representative.
My Opinion
After working for this company for 2 years 6 months I came to the following conclusions.
  • This company hires young people as store managers. These people seem to be weak willed, self centered, always look out for themselves, are easily led and influenced.
  • Senior management are similar to store managers but also must be arrogant, self opinionated, self important, argumentative (towards staff) and extremely greedy.
  • The Company's policies appear to be profit oriented with a complete disregard for staff, to comply with the MINIMUM legal workplace requirements, instill a sense of inadequacy and low esteem in staff by constantly checking each employee's work, never praise or reward staff for good work but ALWAYS humiliate and point out any mistakes and above all, treat employees as expendable numbers who can easily be replaced.
  • This company does not function on the basis of having a reliable, content secure workforce who have pride in their work and are willing to do that little bit extra when not asked, but appears to believe in a workforce of discontented individuals who must be forced and coerced into doing their job, will only do the minimum required and have no pride in their job or workplace.
In Conclusion
You can make your own decision about the above named company and the people they employ to run it.
During the first two years I worked for this company there were never any problems with me or my work, however during the last six months while I was the store Health and Safety representative.
  • I was told by the Regional Manager that he did not want me working for "him".
  • The Area Manager harassed me at home by telephone on two occasions an hour after I finished nightshifts.
  • The key for the payphone coin box was left out one night where I would find it and a security camera was moved to cover the payphone.
  • Store manager refused to sit in on a health and safety meeting when requested by me.
  • Regional and Area managers attempted to intimidate me at meetings where I did not have witnesses.
  • Given a written reprimand because the manager claimed a car drove off without paying for petrol. When I asked for proof he did not supply it.
  • The Area manager complained constantly to the Dept of Industrial affairs that I "elected myself". (The election was held correctly and agreed to by the Dept of Industrial Affairs).
  • Messages concerning health and safety that I placed on the notice board were constantly removed by the store management.
  • I was given NO assistance, help or training by anyone within the company management.
  • The senior management argued about EVERYTHING that I requested to improve the safety and security of staff.
  • NONE of the managerial staff from store manager to senior management were interested or understood anything concerning occupational health and safety.

From my experience with this company I would deduce that "people" or communication skills are not a pre-requisite for managerial staff. Nor is it a requirement to understand the relevant health and safety regulations relating to employees. This is a company that:

  • Condones the use of degreasing fluids, used 3-4 times a week in large amounts to wash the grease, oil, dirt etc down the drains into our waterways and ultimately polluting our oceans.(done at night when no-one is around).
  • Argues, intimidates and coerces duly elected occupational health and safety representatives, and then delays and does the barest minimum required to ensure the safety of staff.

All this while producing policies stating the exact opposite.
Please feel free to use any of this information in any way you like. The URL for this page should be spread far and wide for everyone to read.

End of Story

Police Report
14th November 1997
Security Advice Unit
Police Headquarters
30 Flinders Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Mr Craig Duncan
Assistant Manager
Mobil Quix
Cnr Goldsmith Dve & Dyson Rd
Noarlunga Downs SA
Dear Craig,
As a result of the inspection of the Mobil Quix Service Station on Wednesday,
12th November, 1997, I submit the following for your information and 
As a whole the general security of the premises, both inside and outside was 
reasonable. However the following points were noted:
Cash Handling/Banking
* No obvious problems identified, however it would be beneficial to erect
  signs advertising that "minimum cash is kept on the premises."
Layout of Premises
* Generally very good. The cashier is quite visible from outside the
  premises, which can act as a deterent to would be offenders, but fron
  certain angles the cashier will be partially obscured due to a cigarette
  display. I suggest that this display be removed and placed further along
  the counter(adjacent to the second till), thereby giving a completely
  unrestricted view of the cashier at the number 1 till.
* Although the counter is raised and makes it difficult for customers to see
  behind or reach over, the counter is easily accessible from it's southern 
  end. The area behind the counter should not be accessible to customers and
  should remain a safe area for staff to operate in. I strongly suggest that
  this open end of the counter be blocked off immediately with a counter top
  and swing door. The door should be able to be bolted in such a way as to 
  prevent customers from being able to unlock it themselves.
* Toilets. The location of the toilets are a concern as they allow patrons
  to access them, and then remain out of view. With the toilets being so
  close to the open counter area, this compounds the aforementioned problem.
  In addition to upgrading the counter, a mirror placed in the correct 
  position would enable staff, at a glance to, to see the corridor area of
  the toilets. This would prevent would be offenders from catching staff
Security Equipment
* Closed Circuit TV. Although the cameras are well located, you need to 
  ensure that the equipment is regularly serviced and the video tapes used
  are changed approximately every 2 to 3 months. As you would be aware
  continued use of the same tapes will ultimately result in the taped images
  being of a poor, unusable quality.  A simple play back of the tape will
  allow you to check on the quality. Cameras act as a deterrent as well as
  enabling police to identify offenders, the deterrent effect would be
  further enhanced by erecting signs advertising the fact that security
  cameras are in use.
* Hold Up Alarm. The lack of a hold up alarm is a major concern. The
  provision of such equipment is a necessity and can substantially decrease
  the police response time in attending to an emergency situation. I would
  suggest that this omission should be addressed immediately. If both tills
  are regularly used an alarm button at each till, and possibly one in the
  cashiers office would be most appropriate.
* Although the doors are automatic it would be advisable to have an 
  electronic sensor fitted to adequately warn staff of customers entering
  the premises. Staff are often too busy to hear the regular sound of the
  door opening, especially if they are busy serving at the till.
* The addition of a manual switch adjacent to the till, would enable staff
  to check potential customers, prior to them entering the premises. This
  would assist those who work alone, particularly late at night.
* More signs and stickers could certainly be utilised within the premises. 
  It is not detrimental to advertise certain security measures, in fact it
  can have the opposite effect. Signs/stickers could be utilised to
  advertise the Closed Circuit TV, for customers to remove crash helmets
  prior to entering the store etc.
* You have a height sticker in use at the front door, and the positioning
  of this should be checked as it is possibly located at the wrong height.
Staff Training
* Although your staff undergo some basic training by means of a CD Rom, it
  is important that they receive regular updates and reminders on how to
  handle emergency situations, and what your emergency procedures are.
  This should include them activating the hold up alarm button (if one is
  to be installed), as they need to be familiar with how emergency equipment
* Staff should also be reminded of the correct telephone numbers to ring in 
  case of emergency, and 000 should be added to the pre-added numbers in the
* Staff should also be made aware of the information left at the store 
  during my visit, and the CODEA sheet should be placed in a position where 
  it is easy for staff to view.
This report is forwarded for your information and consideration.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact staff 
at the Security Advice Unit on telephone 82042995.
Yours Sincerely,     
Adrian Jones
Senior Constable
Security Advice Unit
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First Letter
Pat Morton                                               26 February 1998
S.A. Area Manager
Quix Foodstores

In order to reduce the risk associated with employees working alone, at night and in an isoloated environment in this store, it is requested that a warning device in the form of an audible warning device be fitted to the store entry doors.
Currently, it is possible for anyone to enter the store without the knowledge of the employee on duty unless the employee is in close proximity to the entry doors and is watching the doors. This is both a potentially dangerous situation and currently produces an extremely stressfull work environment.
Due to the fact that the two front doors are damaged and do not close flush, the normal magnetic "reed" switches would not be suitable. It is suggested that either the doors be repaired and reed switches be used on both doors, or a narrow beam microwave detector be installed outside and above the doors facing downward. It is suggested that two audible warning devices in the form of piezo-electric buzzers or similar be used, one to be installed in the walk-in refrigerator and one installed on the green wall adjacent to the restrooms sign. It is also suggested that an on/off switch be installed in the vicinity of register one. This will provide a means of switching off the device during busy periods and will provide advance warning of anyone entering the store to any employee working anywhere within the store.
It is also requested that a prominent sign be placed on the front door stating "Minimum cash kept in register. Time delay safe in use." or words to that effect.
These two requests should be considered the minimum requirements for the health and well being of staff working alone in this store environment. If you would like to improve security above the minimum requirements, I would be most happy to discuss the matter further.

Sincerely David Pye

O.H.S & W representative Quix Noarlunga Workgroup Store 306. Noarlunga
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Report to Staff
26 April 1998

The door buzzer I had expected would have been selected by a qualified security company and installed by qualified personnel. However, what we did get was a low budget, department store door alarm, selected and installed by the maintenance person. These types of door buzzers are not 100% reliable and do not always register movement. Also, I was not consulted by Pat at any time concerning the installation or whether the buzzer was adequate. I can only assume from this that the value of our welfare and safety is not considered high enough to justify the cost of a professionally fitted security buzzer, but only warrants a cheaper department store door buzzer fitted by a maintenance person. As I did not consider this satisfactory, I arranged for an Inspector from the Industrial Commission to meet me at work on the 22nd April. The lady in question (Eva) is currently conducting a survey/investigation into security in Service Stations in Adelaide. I spoke to her in detail about the door buzzer and also raised several other matters that she will look into.
1) .... CHAIR Why a chair is not provided for staff. The regulations specifically make provision for seating to be provided for employees.
2) .... RUBBER MAT As it is sometimes necessary during busy periods for staff to stand behind register one for hours at a time, a rubber backed mat needs to be provided to stand on. Standing on a hard floor for prolonged periods can lead to lower back, shoulder and neck pain, varicose veins and swollen, puffy or aching feet and legs.
3) .... TOILET BREAKS We need to be advised of this company's policy concerning employees working alone for up to 8 hours and the procedure to take when a toilet break is required. (do we leave the store open, lock the store, keep a bucket behind the counter or just cross our legs).
4) .... ILLNESS We need to be advised of the procedures this company has in place should anyone become ill while working alone.
5) .... WORKING ALONE, OUTSIDE AT NIGHT Currently the nightshift employee is required to work outside, in an isolated area, alone, at night, with no security or protection and with no means of obtaining assistance should he become injured or incapacitated.
6) .... REGULAR CONTACT At night, this store would be considered an isolated area, and as such the regulations require that regular contact be made with anyone working alone in an isolated area.

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First Reply
Cnr Millers & Kororoit Creek Roads, Altona, Vic, 3018   Ph: (03) 9286 5499  
Fax: (03) 9286 5892
PO Box 82, Altona, Vic, 3018

6 May 1998
Mrs E Jaruzelski Inspector of Occupational Health and Safety Department of Industrial Affairs
Fax: (08) 8362 1958

Dear Ewa
I am writing this letter to confirm the Meeting with Pat Morton and Yourself On 1 May 1998. At this meeting a number of issues were discussed.
Outlined below is a summary Of issues discussed and agreed outcome.

BUZZER: We have contacted Combined Maintenance to rewire buzzer to electrical supply to ensure the buzzer cannot be turned off at the switch. They have adviced us this cannot be done. We will replace the buzzer with one that can be connected to electrical supply.
MAT: A mat for the staff to stand on whilst standing behind the console area. Following your observation of staff on duty at the store, you agreed they were not standing behind the console for a long period of time and that a mat was not necessary. No further action to be taken.
CHAIR: A chair to be provided to employees for meal breaks or in the event of an employee not feeling well. We have agreed to place a chair in the area near console one. As per previous reasons outlined above. If employee is sick we encourage them to make appropriate arrangements and to go home.
EMPLOYEES WORKING ALONE NIGHTSHIFT: Issue raised regarding employee working alone. We have arranged for every store to ring one other store every 2 hours, commencing 10.00pm and ceasing at 6.00am. ie store 301 rings 302, 302 rings 303, etc. This has already been communicated to staff and commenced on 1 May 1998.
BUTTON TO AUTOMATICALLY LOCK DOOR: As discussed employees currently have access to a key which permits them to lock the door in the event of a suspious customer. In addition if the console operator needs to go to the bathroom, they are permitted to lock the door. Given the above mentioned measures are currently in place, at this stage we do not plan to install a button to automatically lock the door.
Should you have any further questions or wish to discuss in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact Pat Morton on 0419038398 or myself on 0417582099 or 92865499.
Yours sincerely

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Second Letter
Pat Morton
S.A. Area Manager
Quix Foodstores                                                22 May 1998

I feel that a number of issues under the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare act affecting employees in this store have not been adequately addressed. In order to avoid any further delays or misunderstandings, where appropriate I have included references to the more important sections of the Act and Regulations. In particular, division 1.2 (responsibilities under the regulations), 1.3 (implementation of the regulations) and Part 3 of the Act (duties of employers).
* FLOORMAT. During certain shifts, due to the amount of customers, it quite often becomes necessary to stand behind register one for hours at a time. A soft mat should be provided for staff to stand on. (Regulations. Division 2.3.2(4)) * CHAIR. The chair provided is not only required for mealbreaks or illness, but is required by the employee when it is appropriate to be seated while at work. The seat needs to be high enough to enable employees to sit while operating the register or while carrying out any work at the counter and in particular, enable employees to see over the counter while seated. Providing a low office chair to be kept in one corner of the work area does not meet these requirements. (Regulations. Division 2.2.9(3) & 2.2.9(4) * DOOR. The main entrance doors have been damaged for quite a long time and it has only been possible to lock the top part of the doors to the door frame. For the past several weeks it has not been possible to lock them at all as they cannot be locked to the top door frame any more. This means that in the event of an emergency/holdup/suspicious customer(s) etc it is not possible to secure the building or provide a safe haven for staff. * WORKING ALONE, OUTSIDE AT NIGHT. Currently the nightshift employees are required to work in an isolated area, alone, at night, with no security or protection and with no means of obtaining assistance should they become injured, incapacitated or are confronted by aggressive persons.
A report of an inspection of this store's security, carried out by Senior Constable Adrian Jones of the Police Security Advice Unit was forwarded to this store on the 14th November 1997 and was seen by me, the Assistant Manager and other employees. However, as you recently advised me that neither this store's manager, you, nor the Regional Manager were aware of this report, I obtained a duplicate copy from the Police Security Advice unit and forwarded it to Adam Rytenskild on the 30th March (a copy is enclosed). Senior Constable Jones considered the matter of the end of the counter not being blocked off to customers and the lack of a hold-up alarm, to be most important and suggested they should be addressed immediately. However, as this report was brought about as a result of an armed robbery at this store, it would be appropriate to consider all of his recommendations to be important.
His recommendations are: 1 .. Southern end of counter should be blocked off from customers by means of a counter top and swing door. 2 .. Mirror to enable staff to view "blind area" near toilets. 3 .. Hold up alarm with buttons in appropriate positions.
The matter of the chair and floormat are required under specific regulations (Division 2.2.9(3) & 2.2.9(4) and Division 2.3.2(4)). The other matters relate to an employer providing a safe working environment and recognising and minimising known risks.
During the last past years that I have been employed by this company there has not been any consultation with staff concerning any health or safety issues. I was elected by this store's employees as the Health & Safety Representative for the sole purpose of rectifying this problem. Unfortunately there appears to be a considerable amount of ill feeling and antagonism generated because of my election and subsequent requests. What I have asked for is in accordance with the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986, the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1995, this company's own Environment, Health and Safety Policy and this company's own Equal Opportunity Practices Policy of December 1996.
The results so far are clearly not satisfactory, however I do believe that communication and commonsense is preferable to issuing default notices, involving Inspectors or ultimately the Industrial Court. I would prefer that the above issues be settled amicably rather than with antagonism and legal recourse.
For the previous two to three months since becoming the Health and Safety Representative and in my attempts to ensure that this store's working environment is as safe and as comfortable as possible, my health has deteriorated to the extent that I now suffer from insomnia, very high blood pressure and chest, arm and stomach pains. Electrocardiograms and blood tests have ruled out any physical cause, indicating work related stress and anxiety. To this extent I have been forced to reduce the number of shifts I work, resulting in an improvement in my health. I do not wish to leave this employ, and I believe that if the safety and welfare issues indicated are instigated by this company, it will not only provide a safer and much less stressfull working environment but will also demonstrate the concern this company has for it's employees.
With the recent closure at night of two nearby petrol stations, this store is now the only retail outlet open during the night within a radius of several kilometres. This greatly increases the risk to night staff and therefore the safety measures listed should be considered of the utmost urgency.
Please advise what action is being/will be taken concerning the issues I have raised.

Sincerely David Pye

O.H.S & W Representative Quix Noarlunga Workgroup Store 306. Noarlunga
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Letter to Industrial Affairs
Barry Carter
Snr Inspector
Dept of Industrial Affairs

Dear Barry, 22 May 1998
My name is David Pye, I am the O.H.S & W rep at the Quix Service Station at Noarlunga. I have included copies of a letter and document that I have sent to the S.A. Area Manager for this company and would appreciate it if you would keep them as proof that they exist. Sometimes within this company documents appear to vanish or were never there and there seems to be cases of memory loss and confusion by certain members of this company's management.
I have been trying to improve the safety at this store and have had to ask Ewa Jaruzelski to intecede on my behalf. However, the management of the company I work for are making things very difficult.
To date the Area Manager, Regional Manager and Store Manager have:
* Questioned why I was elected as Health & Safety Rep instead of the store manager. * Have tried intimidating me. * Told me that I am not fit to be the Health & Safety Rep and that they do not want me working for this company. * Called me at home by telephone and criticised the contents of a notice I put up advising staff of a meeting I had with Ewa. (This was an hour after I finished a night shift). * Have not attempted to voluntarily consult or discuss on any health and safety issues. * Just prior to a meeting on the 29th April with the current Regional Manager, the new Regional Manager and the Area Manager, I asked the store manager (Sarah Wilson) to sit in as I suggested that it was in her interests. She refused, stating that she was "too busy". At the meeting I was the only one interested in talking about health & safety issues. After putting up with criticism, intimidation, antagonistic attitudes, distortion of the facts and being laughed at, I ended the meeting. * An employee expressed his concern through me to the store manager about working at night without an alarm system. The next day all of his rostered shifts were cancelled and a few days later he was told he would not be required any more. The other staff were told that he left because he didn't want to work at nights any more. * There have been other more subtle things done, but unfortunately I do not have any proof apart from my own records.
It has been quite clear to me for some time that the management of this company do not want me trying to improve conditions in this store and are trying to find a way of dismissing me, and it is only a matter of time until they do. The current legislation does not provide adequate protection for people such as me and the only protection I have is by being one step ahead, but unfortunately I'm running out of steps. If I simply gave the enclosed letter to the management of this company, there is a distinct probability that it would vanish, no-one would remember it and probably I would be unemployed very soon.
I do not wish you to take any action concerning this, but simply keep the enclosed letter as proof that it exists. While this may be a trifle unorthodox, I don't have very many options left.

Yours Sincerely

David Pye
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Default Notice

here for Default notice.

                           DEFAULT NOTICE addendum

The staff area behind the counter can easily be accessed by any customers via the opening at the southern end. This means that the area behind the counter cannot provide a safe or secure area for staff to work in. A counter top and swing door need to be provided at the southern counter opening. These should be capable of being secured so that they can only be unlocked from behind the counter, thereby preventing access by customers.
In a report of this store's security carried out by Senior Constable Adrian Jones of the Police Security Advice Unit on the 14th November 1997, it was strongly suggested that this be done immediately.
A copy of this report was forwarded to the Southern Regional Manager (Adam Rytenskild) on the 30th March 1998.
A copy was forwarded to the S.A Area Manager (Pat Morton) on the 25th May 1998 requesting notification of what action is being taken.

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Second Letter
Cnr Millers & Kororoit Creek Roads, Altona, Vic, 3018   Ph: (03) 9286 5499  
Fax: (03) 9286 5892
PO Box 82, Altona, Vic, 3018

16 June 1998
David Pye C/- Quix Cnr Goldsmith Drv & Dyson Rd NOARALUNGA DOWN 5168
Dear David
I am writing this letter in response to your letter dated 22 May 1998, in this letter you stated there were a number of issues under the OH & S Welfare Act affecting employees in this store that have not been adequately addressed.
They are as follows
Floor Mats: ---------- This issue was raised with Ewa Jurujelski from Department of Industrial Affairs. Ewa observed and assessed a console operator whilst on duty. Ewa found that a console operator does not stand in one place for prolonged period of time as they are performing other duties in the store. Hence there is no requirement for a floor mat.
Chair: ------ As per my letter dated the 6 May 1998 to Ewa Juruielski Quix was happy to provide a chair for meal breaks or illness, though as stated in the letter if an employee is ill we would encourage for them to make arrangements to go home. In your letter you stated that the chair is not only required for meal breaks or illness but is required by the employee when it is appropriate to be seated while at work. Ewa also observed this, through her recommendations there is no need for a chair to complete work tasks as the task of a console operator is to complete various other tasks other than console work.
Door: ---- You have stated that for the past few weeks the door has been unable to lock. It is my understanding the door can be locked. In your letter you also stated that working alone outside at night. You state currently the night shift employees are required to work in an isolated area alone, at night, with no security or protection and with no means of obtaining assistance should they become injured, incapacitated or are confronted by aggressive persons, Since you wrote this letter we have completed tests for duress buttons/personal alert systems, as you would have observed this has been installed at Noaralunga.
In addition you recently served Quix with a default notice dated 716/98, in regards to the southern side of the sales counter not being blocked off from customers, by means of a counter top or swing door. Since you severed this notice we have spoken to the Industrial Affairs Office and have received advice to have an inspector look at the site and make an assessment. We have done this and currently awaiting their response.
You also outlined some concerns regarding your attempts to ensure that this store "Noaralunga" working environment is safe and as comfortable as possible.
As an Organisation it is of end paramount importance that Quix provides its employees with a safe working environment.
As you are aware your role as OH & S representative is a voluntary position and purley your choice to continue performing this role. This OH & S representative role is not an inherent requirement of your casual position with Quix.
If there is anything that you wish to discuss with me please don't hesitate to call me on (03) 9286 5499@ 1 can assure you that our Organisation has the employees best interest at heart.
Yours sincerely,
cc: Pat Morton Maria Yiannacou
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Third Letter
Sam Pupillo                                                 10 July 1998
Southern Regional Manager
Quix Foodstores
P.O. Box 82
Vic, 3018

Dear Sam,

Thank you for your letter of the 16th June.
I had addressed my letter of May 22nd to Pat Morton, as she is the South Australian Area Manager and responsible for the operation of the Quix stores in this state. However, I was most surprised to receive a reply from you instead. I would appreciate advice on why Pat did not answer my letter and whether she is, or is not authorised to act on behalf of this company concerning Health and Safety issues.
To date, I have not received advice as to whether this company has an Occupational Health and Safety Officer and his/her name. In order to carry out my duties as this store's O.H. & S. representative I would appreciate being advised of the above, I would also appreciate being advised as to who I should contact within this company concerning Health and Safety matters. (this person should have the authority to make decisions on behalf of this company).
In your letter you stated that it is of primary importance that this company provides a safe and comfortable working environment. If this is the case then it would not be necessary to ask the following:
Why was it necessary to elect an O.H. & S. representative for this store?
Why was it necessary for me to request the attendance of an inspector from the Dept of Industrial Affairs on two occasions because of unresolved safety issues?
Why has a Hold-Up kit comprising a video and books designed to be viewed by all staff and sent to this store by Mobil, been left, unused underneath the front counter?
Why was this company's management ignorant of a report on this store's security carried out by the Police Security Advice Unit immediately after an armed holdup at this store, when this company has an obligation under the O.H. & S. act to monitor the workplace?
Why, after several requests, does this company refuse to supply a soft floor mat behind register one, when this would greatly ease the strain on the back, legs and feet of staff working alone?
Why was it necessary for me to issue a default notice against this company for a contravention of the health and safety act?
Why would this company request an Inspectors attendance in order to question the validity of the default notice?
This company has been obligated to install a door buzzer, a hold-up alarm and now provide a locking door/counter top at the counter opening in this store. Why is it that the other stores do not have these same safety features for the protection of staff?
Why has it been necessary for an Inspector to remind senior management personnel of their obligations under the O.H. & S. Act?
On the 29th April at a meeting with Adam Rytenskild, you and Pat Morton, I asked Adam to form an O.H.&S. committee comprising representatives from all of the S.A. stores. The Act provides two months in which to comply. Why has nothing been done?
During the previous two years plus that I have worked here, why has this company never voluntarily had a meeting or consultation with staff concerning health, safety or welfare.
As this store's health and safety representative, this company has a requirement under the act to provide me with assistance and training. Why I have yet to see any of these?
You stated that it is "of end paramount importance that Quix provides its employees with a safe working environment". The actions of this company over the past few months would add very little support to that statement.
As there has been no action taken by this company concerning my request for the formation of an O.H. & S. Committee, I have had to request that an Inspector intervene yet again.

Yours Sincerely

DAVID PYE O.H.S.& W. Representative Quix Noarlunga Workgroup
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Report to Staff

This is to let everyone know what has been happening.
As it is not practical for us to have regular meetings, the easiest way of letting everyone know what is happening is to put copies of everything on this notice board. So I have included copies of two letters, one I received from Sam Pupillo and the other is my reply.
We finally have a hold-up button with a remote pendant button. We can thank Ewa Jaruselski (Dept of Industrial Affairs Inspector) for her efforts in ensuring this company installed it.
I sent a letter to Pat on the 22nd May asking for information on several matters including getting the front doors fixed so that they could be locked and installing a lockable door at the end of the counter to block customer access. By the 7th June I had not received a reply so I issued a default notice against Pat to install a door at the end of the counter and gave her two weeks to comply (22 June). Pat disagreed with the notice and just prior to the 22nd of June she requested an Inspector attend. On 24th June Barry Carter (Senior Inspector) attended. He upheld the default notice and gave Pat two months in which to comply.
If anyone would like more information about what has happened or is happening, or if you have any questions or suggestions just let me know.
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Report to Staff
Mr Barry Carter
Snr Inspector
Dept of Industrial Affairs

17 July 1998
Dear Barry,
Sorry to have to bother you again with yet more problems, but it seems that everytime I say anything within this company, Pat Morton is just waiting to jump on me. I have tried to be as nice as possible with these people, but I am tired of being ignored and I am especially tired of the apparent victimisation by Pat.
I have included copies of a letter I received from Sam Pupillo, a reply I sent to him and a note I placed on our notice board at work. I placed copies on the notice board so that everyone at work would know what has been happening. On Wednesday 15th, Pat told the assistant Manager (Craig Duncan) to leave the letter from Sam and to take down my letter and note as she considered them to be derogatory towards the company. Pat's opinion of my letter and note is irrelevant, it is factual information concerning what is/has happened in this store and all members of this work group are entitled to read it.
As almost all casual staff working at this store are either university students or have other jobs and we do not work together this is the only way I have of letting everyone know what is happening. If it was possible for us to have a meeting, then I would show everyone the letter anyway.
I have been patient and polite in trying to communicate with Pat, even to the extent of explaining that I would rather settle health and safty matters amicably rather than with inspectors. However she constantly refuses to consult with me, is uncooperative, does not answer my letters and now is attempting to intimidate and censor me by instructing the store managerial staff to remove health and safety correspondence that relates to this work group.
I will be placing another copy of each on the notice board tonight during my shift and including a note that the information is provided by me, as the health and safety representative of this store, for the information of all work group members. I do not know what will happen, but I will not be intimidated by these people. I have an obligation to let my fellow employees know what I am doing as their health and safety representative, if they believe that I am not doing my job properly then they can disqualify me. If Pat believes that I am acting improperly then she can apply to the Industrial Commission for my removal, however she does NOT have the right to treat me with such contempt and intimidation.
I would like you to consider this letter a formal complaint against Pat Morton for attempting to intimidate me and deliberately undermining and censoring my function as this store's Health and Safety Representative, and would like you to take appropriate action against her.
Unfortunately, this now means I must ask you for a reply as to what you will do in response to my complaint. I did not want this matter to go this far, but I can see no alternative if I am to remain as this store's representative. I am sure you and your staff have much more important things to do than to keep spending your time sorting out petty problems which could easily be settled with simple commonsense and negotiation. I hope that this will be the last time I will need to contact your office for assistance and sincerly hope that after this I can expect to receive some cooperation and consultation from within this company.

Yours Sincerely

David Pye O.H.S. & W. representative Quix Noarlunga Workgroup
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