Woolies 'planking' sackings spark anger

A Woolworths planker. Photo / Supplied
A Woolworths planker. Photo / Supplied

Scores of workers suspended or sacked for planking have vented their frustration on Facebook.

In Australia, Woolworths, the country's biggest employer, has axed eight employees in three states for performing the potentially dangerous stunt on top of meat grinders, display shelves, trolleys and stacks of milk crates then boasting about it online.

The sackings come after Acton Beale, 20, fell to his death as he tried to plank the seven-storey balcony of his high-rise Brisbane unit last Sunday. His death highlighted the craze and triggered a crackdown.

Woolworths said staff were putting at risk their safety, as well as that of other staff and customers.

The sackings follow the suspension of six school students for planking in Queensland. Police and education officials have warned the fad will not be tolerated. McDonald's has told its staff planking was inappropriate in the workplace.

In NSW, the manager and assistant manager of a Dick Smith electronics outlet - owned by Woolworths - were shown the door after the company discovered they had planked on a 2m shelving unit.

Two Victorian meat department employees were dismissed for planking on a mincing machine, and a Queensland casual worker was sacked for lying face down on milk crates.

Another three nightshift workers were sacked for planking on trolleys and display units. Many of those fired photographed the act.

Wade Loan, one of those sacked by Woolworths in NSW, posted on Facebook: "Only I could get fired for planking".

He has since become a fan of a Facebook page titled "Australia: The only country where lying down can be illegal".

Other Facebook reports include people fired for planking on raised forklifts and a student suspended from school for scaling a 1.8m wall.

Woolworths told the Daily Telegraph newspaper it was investigating several other planking incidents.

A spokeswoman said the company became aware of the stunts when it was directed to images on Facebook.

Woolworths risk and safety general manager Anthony Wilson said the company was not trying to be a killjoy.

"It's not about being the fun police, it's about making sure people are looking out for their own safety," Wilson said.

"Planking is a direct contradiction of our safety and health policy. Our employees have a responsibility to ensure their own safety and the safety of those around them."

- Herald on Sunday

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