Union protest at Ballarat barbecue shop hits a snag

A UNION protest at a Ballarat barbecue shop hit a snag yesterday after demonstrators realised the store was locally-owned.

More than 20 workers from the Super A-Mart distribution centre in Melbourne travelled to Ballarat to ask shoppers not to spend their money at Barbeques Galore on Armstrong Street.

The Barbeques Galore franchise is owned by Super A-Mart, however the Ballarat store is owned by two local men.

The workers marched from Trades Hall to the store handing out flyers telling people to "beware" of Super A-Mart's chief executive and to shop elsewhere.

Once at the store they blocked the entrance and yelled chants including: "We will not be mistreated by Barbeques Galore or Super A-Mart."

But the protest dissolved quickly after the workers discovered the store was locally owned.

The group was unaware of this and had already handed out the negative flyers before making the discovery.

Commerce Ballarat executive officer Jodie Gillett said it was disappointing the business could have been targeted based on incorrect information.

"From a Commerce Ballarat perspective we were disappointed to see a small locally-owned business targeted unfairly," she said.

"They distributed negative flyers before checking their facts, it is extremely disappointing."

One of the protesters Rossario Cosentino said workers had been locked out of their workplace for three weeks after asking for a pay rise.

"We are hoping to get a pay rise because we haven't received one in three to four years and we want better working conditions," he said.

"We just wanted to let the community know what is going on back in Somerton where the warehouse is."