Important Coles Update
As you are aware, the Fair Work Commission recently made a ruling about the Coles Agreement and had given the Company until 10 June 2016 to consider making certain undertakings.
It was our priority to protect the wages and conditions set out in the current Coles Agreement, which pays employees a base rate of pay up to $99.50 more per week than the Retail Award and provides superior conditions around rostering, leave entitlements and public holidays. In order to protect these benefits the SDA urged Coles to make undertakings and preserve the Agreement.
What happened in the Fair Work Commission?
One Coles worker initiated the appeal of the current Coles Agreement despite over 90% of Coles workers voting in favour of the Agreement. As part of the Coles Agreement, the SDA has traded off certain penalty rates in exchange for a higher base rate of pay for all workers and superior conditions, which puts workers better off overall.
The appeal did find that the overwhelming majority of Coles workers were better off under the Agreement. However, it also found that some employees who work a majority of their hours in the evenings and on weekends where higher rates are payable under the Retail Award, could be disadvantaged.
The Commission invited Coles to make undertakings to ensure that, in the case of an employee being disadvantaged under the Agreement compared to the Award, they will not be worse off.
It was the SDA’s view that undertakings should be made and strongly urged the company to make appropriate undertakings.
Will the current Coles Agreement be terminated?
Coles has now made a decision not to make these undertakings and as a result the current Coles Agreement will be terminated.
The SDA is disappointed by this decision as undertakings would have resulted in an Agreement that ensured no employee was disadvantaged while leaving thousands of Coles members better off in both pay and conditions compared to the Award.
Whilst the 2014 agreement will be terminated the Company has confirmed that it will pass on the July 2016 pay increase (effective from 4th July) and it will also honour the significant increases for 18 and 19 year olds which took effect on 6th June, 2016.
What is the SDA doing to protect your wages and conditions?
The Coles Agreement did result in the company paying significantly more in total wages to employees than it would have had to pay under the Retail Award.
We are concerned that the wages and conditions of Coles workers that union members have fought for over decades will be lost if workers are put on the Retail Award.
That is why the SDA is calling on the Company to immediately commence negotiations for a new Agreement that ensures fair wages and working conditions for all employees.
While we’re working to stop Coles workers from being put on the Retail Award, Coles workers will be covered by the 2011 Coles Supermarkets Agreement.
Coles has committed that employees will not see a reduction in their base rate of pay.
We will keep you updated with more information as it comes to hand.