Is a happy worker a healthy and productive worker?

April 30, 2018 Member News Newsletters Notice

By Semone Pfingst, SDA Organiser

In my 20+ years with the union working around the Sunshine Coast and now in the Wide Bay area you think you’ve seen it all… companies not paying members correctly, bullying, intimidation, victimisation, harassment, unfair dismissals, management cheating staff and then being convicted for fraud from the company… the list goes on and on.

In my role as an SDA organiser, I have strongly argued that a happy worker is a healthy and productive worker. Sensible management have listened to my premise and acknowledged the benefits of a happy workforce in their stores.

Recently I have been inundated with a series of problems across several companies where management, it seems, are deliberately upsetting staff.

Such examples are:

  • Caring only about the company code of contact when it pleases them and not for the members in relation to bullying, harassment and respecting others;
  • Ignoring members availability;
  • Handing new rosters to members and saying that there will be no negotiations on the matter;
  • Handing new rosters to members and ignoring roster protections in the Enterprise Agreement such as family responsibilities and safe transport home;
  • Ignoring sections of the Rest Breaks and Meal Breaks clauses in the Enterprise Agreement;
  • Threatening members with recriminations if they go and see the Shop Steward or ring the union office.

Because some line and store management have gone completely overboard and are changing rosters without due process, members in my area have said “enough is enough”. They are no longer prepared to cop this flagrant breach of their respective Enterprise Agreements and are invoking the grievance procedure.

As a result of invoking the grievance procedure, members are entitled to remain on their old roster in most cases until the matter is resolved. If this means the matter will proceed to head offices and finally the Fair Work Commission, then so be it.

I am a very positive person and I still believe in the old adage that a happy worker is a healthy and productive worker and I will continue to strongly argue for this principle.

I am so proud of my members because they are voting with their feet and pursuing their rights through the grievance procedure for as long as it takes.

I just hope that companies will once again realise their greatest asset is their staff.

Advice to all members
It doesn’t matter whether you have been an SDA member for one month or 30 years. Similarly, it doesn’t matter whether you are full-time, part-time or casual. 21 years in the job has taught me that members should never sign their rights away. I cannot stress enough that it is extremely important to speak to your Shop Steward or ring the union office and seek advice before you sign anything.