THE SDA: A FLURRY OF POSITIVE ACTIVITY
After 15 months of hard work by SDA Officials, Shop Stewards and members, Coles retail members have finally had the opportunity to vote on their newly negotiated Enterprise Agreement.
Over 48,000 Coles employees voted on the new agreement which represented 61% of the Coles workforce. The SDA strongly encouraged members to support the agreement and it was very encouraging that 90% voted ‘yes’.
Coles workers received their one-off payment in late March and this has been well received. The employees voted to overwhelmingly accept the new Agreement after an extensive process which included two and half weeks of consultation, thousands of meetings across the country and a one and half week voting period conducted by an independent body.
The new Agreement was an excellent outcome for our members and was consistent with the four key priorities which we took into the negotiations. No member lost money, most conditions were kept and there are pay rises for everyone. Importantly, all members will be paid above the Modern Award and their conditions will be far superior.
Now that the Agreement has won the overwhelming support of Coles workers, the next step will be to have the agreement approved by the Fair Work Commission. This process should not take too long and I will advise all members ASAP after the Commission decision.
Negotiations for new agreements are currently underway in Woolworths, Kmart, David Jones, Bunnings, Best and Less, The Just Group, Pizza Hut and Hungry Jacks.
I believe that Woolworths and Kmart will be concluded in the next few months and I expect the rollouts will commence soon after.
I have personally represented the Queensland Branch members in Coles, Woolworths and Kmart negotiations which have been lengthy and time consuming but it’s all worth it when we negotiate very good agreements. The Coles vote proved this.
‘No one deserves a Serve’ campaign
This campaign continues to gain momentum. After the very successful launch pre-Christmas, the SDA hosted a national industry roundtable discussion in mid-March. Company representatives from the Coles and Woolworths Group, other retailers, Fast Food Companies, the National Retail Association, the Shopping Centre Council, government representatives and community groups attended.
It was recognised by all present that customer abuse is on the rise, should not be part of the job and needs to be stopped.
The SDA’s aim in bringing all the major players together is to create industry-wide solutions to this customer abuse epidemic. It was agreed that we will arrive at short-term and long-term solutions to reduce customer abuse and protect retail and fast food workers.
Further meetings are scheduled and we hope this roundtable will provide a range of solutions to reduce the amount of abuse that retail and fast food workers receive from customers.
National wage case
Our Award based members annual wage increase is determined by the Fair Work Commission. The union movement through the Australian Council of Trade Unions, employer representatives and the federal government put in their submissions and the Commission ultimately makes its decision. The wage increase usually commences from 1 July.
It is worth noting that more and more of our members’ wage increases are governed by this decision. For example, Coles retail workers future wage increases will be based on the Commission decision.
Some employer groupings suggested that the wage increase should be less than 2% whilst the SDA supported the ACTU submission which calls for a 7.2 per cent increase of $50 a week.
Not to be outdone, the National Retail Association (NRA) representing the larger retailers called for a 0% wage increase. This is outrageous and is completely out of touch with the realities of retail workers and the Australian economy.
The NRA submission that retail workers should receive a 0% pay increase actually amounted to a 1.9% pay cut when accounting for inflation. It’s nothing more than a slap in the face for our hard-working members particularly given the fact that many are experiencing financial difficulty with rising electricity bills and the general cost of living.
Our members deserve a pay rise, not a pay cut!