Disappointment for Kmart workers as Fair Work Commission fails to approve EBA

September 3, 2019 Media Releases News

Media release | 2 September 2019

In a disappointing move for Kmart workers across the country, the Fair Work Commission has today rejected the proposed enterprise agreement – an agreement which would have delivered pay rises across the board while also protecting, and improving, workers’ hard-won conditions.

The agreement was rejected primarily on the basis of voting technicalities going to who was and wasn’t entitled to vote.

SDA – the union for retail, fast-food and warehouse workers – National Secretary, Gerard Dwyer said the move is disappointing for the country’s approximately 32,000 Kmart workers, an incredibly high number of who (72%) participated in the ballot. Those participants overwhelming endorsed (91.7% yes vote) the proposed agreement late last year.

“Kmart employs large numbers of casuals which creates complexities around the question of who is entitled to vote. While the straight mathematics show that the figures in question could not have changed the result from an overwhelming yes vote, the Fair Work Commission has ruled that the Act has not been complied with.

Mr Dwyer said the mention of superannuation as a less beneficial provision is an interesting ruling in light of legislation surrounding superannuation and given that the nominated fund, REST, is one of the country’s best performing funds over the long term.

“It’s disappointing to see the agreement rejected, but of course we respect the Fair Work Commission’s decision and will work with all the parties involved in an attempt to get an agreement that Kmart workers deserve,” Mr Dwyer said.

“This means further delays for Kmart workers who were looking forward to enjoying the benefits of an agreement that protected existing employees’ higher rates of pay, contained full award penalty rates, provided pay rises for all, two days paid domestic violence leave and preserved above award conditions.

“The SDA has a very strong and long track record of delivering the best possible wages and conditions for Kmart and other retail workers and we’re going to continue to deliver on that.

“We’re getting on with the job of working with Kmart workers to ensure they get the wages and conditions they deserve.

“It’s disappointing that an agreement that was so popular with the workforce and that contained so many important conditions, like improved rostering, a new casual conversion clause and domestic violence leave has been rejected – particularly after so many delays – but we’re confident that the SDA will help workers get the fair and reasonable agreement they deserve.”

Media contact: Alana Mew, 0419 929 722