Members Speak Up!
By Justin Power, Assistant State Secretary
Unless we are fortunate to win lotto or strike oil, most of us will need to work in the paid workforce until we reach our mid-60s or older. Given this, it is important to decide very early in our working lives whether we are going to stick up for our rights at work or not.
The key to defending our rights is knowledge. Members need to know such benefits as their rights to rosters, leave entitlements, tea and meal breaks. It is also important to realise there are laws relating to occupational health and safety, equal employment opportunity, unfair dismissal, sexual harassment and bullying.
Most of those entitlements are detailed in the Enterprise Agreements which are negotiated between the union and the individual companies. SDA Shop Stewards or Delegates will have a copy in their workplace.
It is extremely important for members to read the union literature which is sent to members’ email or home addresses. These publications include the SDA News and individual company bulletins such as wage increase and public holiday bulletins.
It is also important to read the different bulletins which are displayed on the SDA noticeboard in members’ workplaces. Once members are aware of their rights, it is important that members pursue these rights through the grievance procedure. Members can be assured that the union will help them every step of the way. It is very encouraging that many members are happy to speak to management once they are sure of their facts.
Recently, I met a young member who was having issues with her manager. She was at a stage where she was so nervous about interacting with this manager that she was calling in sick for shifts and was seriously considering resigning from her job.
In the future, the member has decided to pursue matters promptly and not let these issues stew in her mind. She has made the decision to gather information, confirm those facts with her Shop Steward or ring the union office and then have a chat with management. If the problem is not fixed, she knows she can speak again to her Shop Steward or ring the union office. At 17, she has learnt a very valuable lesson in life.
10 thoughts for our young and not so young members…
- It is inevitable you will have questions and/or problems in your working life.
- Are you going to speak up for your rights and entitlements or are you going to accept everything that is dished out to you?
- If you believe you are an important person and should be treated with dignity and respect, make the decision today to become more familiar with your entitlements.
- Learn more about these rights and entitlements by reading the union literature which is sent to your home address and placed on the union noticeboard.
- Speak to your trained SDA Shop Steward or Delegate. They are very knowledgeable and will always help you.
- Keep the communications open with your workplace management. They will not bite and if they do, send for reinforcements!
- Your Enterprise Agreement has a grievance procedure which dictates the necessary steps which will help resolve your issue. If store management is slow to act or won’t act, the issue can be pursued through the company’s management tiers.
- If you are aged 17, you cannot receive the aged pension for over 53 years!
- Life is too short to be scared!
- You should never feel alone in the workplace because the SDA is always by your side!