BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE
By State Secretary, Chris Gazenbeek
The union has faced significant challenges throughout 2017 but through the resolve of members, shop stewards and delegates, the union remains united, strong and focused on delivering results for members.
At the point of writing, we have reached an in-principle agreement with Coles supermarkets for a new National Enterprise Agreement. The SDA has fought hard to deliver the best possible outcomes for Coles workers and the framework of the proposed agreement has been endorsed by hundreds of SDA Shop Stewards across Australia. The agreement will be ‘rolled out’ in the stores during January 2018 so that every Coles member is provided with information and provided with enough time to ask questions. No new agreement will be introduced without a vote of Coles workers.
Dates for voting will be finalised in due course and the union will provide more information about the voting process to all members. If the vote is successful, we will go the Fair Work Commission for approval. Once approved by the Commission, the new agreement will establish a new benchmark for bargaining in the retail industry.
We had successful negotiations in IKEA, Costco, Harris Scarfe and Priceline earlier this year and negotiations are continuing in Bunnings, Domino’s and Kmart. Furthermore, we expect that negotiations will quickly ‘ramp-up’ in in the Woolworths Group and other divisions of Wesfarmers in early 2018.
SDA EBAs negotiated under the new ‘enterprise bargaining goal posts’ will continue to provide our retail and fast food members with some of the best wages and working conditions in their industries throughout the world.
Other Industrial Issues
In the last 24 months, the SDA has improved public holiday entitlements, protected the attacks on paid parental leave and advanced the removal of junior rates. In July 2017 the SDA won casual conversion rights, won overtime rights for casuals and defended the 3 hour minimum for casual workers in the fast food industry.
In 2018, we will continue the fight to push back customer abuse and I expect the total union movement will focus some of its attention to the ‘gig economy’. The term ‘gig economy’ arose at the height of the global financial crisis as many workers lost permanent work and turned to sporadic, casual and freelance unlawful tasks of work. Current legislation does not adequately acknowledge or protect the wages, employment conditions and workers’ compensation rights of these workers and as a result, legislative change is needed.
Shop Stewards and Delegates
Our union representatives in our workplaces are an integral part of the SDA. Throughout 2017, I have seen many of you in your workplaces, during EBA negotiations, at SDA training courses, Movie Nights or at various functions. Without you, the SDA would not be as strong and resilient as it is today.
Thank you for all your hard work during 2017 and your continuing loyalty to me personally and to the great SDA.
Warehouses and Distribution Centres
I thank our DC members for staying very loyal SDA members. We will continue to deliver outstanding results for our members whereas other antagonists promise the world and deliver very little.
Coles and Woolworths DC members are fully aware that their EBAs are up for renegotiation and I am personally looking forward to the outcomes we will all achieve for our hard-working DC members.
I invite all members to read the other interesting articles in this SDA News. After all – INFORMATION IS POWER!
On behalf of the Branch President, John Hogg, the State Council and the Officials of the Branch, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and an enjoyable New Year with your families, friends and loved ones.
Stay safe and I look forward to achieving great things with you throughout 2018.