The shop assistant union has called for the compulsory breakup of Coles and Woolworths. 

In a divergence from the broader labour movement's stance, the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RFFWU), representing 3,200 members, wants Australia’s supermarket duopoly to be dissolved.

The moves comes in contrast with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's dismissal of such actions as reminiscent of Soviet-era communism, and ACTU Secretary Sally McManus's concerns over potential negative impacts on supermarket workers.

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA), Australia's largest trade union and a significant contributor to the Labor Party, has abstained from commenting on the matter. 

The union, with a substantial membership within the supermarket sector, is currently engaged in enterprise negotiations with Woolworths and has recently proposed a new pay agreement with Coles, negotiated alongside the SDA.

But Josh Cullinan, RFFWU Secretary, has voiced strong support for legislation that would mandate the dismantling of companies found to be abusing their market power. 

Highlighting the duopoly's control and accusing it of price gouging, Cullinan criticised the existing power dynamics and called for decisive action, including forced divestiture, to correct the market imbalance.

Despite these calls for intervention, investor groups and economists have contested claims of price gouging and market dominance abuse by the supermarket giants. 

They point to the after-tax profit margins of Coles and Woolworths, which align with international standards, suggesting that the accusations may be overstated.

The debate has extended into the political arena, with parties like the Greens, Nationals, and certain crossbenchers advocating for enhanced powers for the competition watchdog to address market power abuses. 

However, this stance faces opposition from major parties and business groups, underscoring the complexity of the issue and the varying perspectives on the best path forward for Australia's supermarket sector.

Katter’s Australian Party MP Bob Katter's legislative proposal aimed at reducing supermarket dominance was recently blocked by both Labor and the Coalition, indicating a reluctance to mandate divestiture or cap market shares.