End of Year Report
by Chris Gazenbeek,
Before we know it – we have come to the end of another year – it’s time to bid farewell to 2022. While the year had its trials, as I look back at the year I can’t help but feel proud of what the SDA has achieved for members this year.
Annual Wage Review
With the rising cost of living putting pressure on SDA members and everything from rent to groceries going up – the SDA ran a strong campaign to ensure workers received a decent pay rise in 2022.
The result of the campaign was a decision by the Fair Work Commission that minimum award rates would increase by 4.6%, with a $40 per week minimum increase.
This increase applied to workers on the General Retail Industry Award, Fast Food Industry Award and Storage Services Award. The increase was also passed on by companies including Woolworths, Coles, Big W, Kmart, Myer, Harris Scarfe, Hungry Jacks, Dominos, KFC and many others.
As inflation and the cost of living has continued to increase, in 2023 the SDA will again lodge a submission and campaign for another decent pay rise so workers can live in dignity and pay their bills.
Family & Domestic Violence Leave
After many years of campaigning, it was a great union win this year when the Albanese Federal Government announced they would legislate 10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave into the National Employment Standards. This gives millions of Australians the entitlement to take up to ten days paid leave if they find themselves in a family or domestic violence situation including to:
- find a new place to live;
- pack belongings and relocated;
- attend court hearings; and
- make new childcare arrangements.
The Bill was passed in October and the new leave entitlement has now been enshrined in the National Employment Standards.
Unionists have campaigned tirelessly for paid Family and Domestic Violence leave and this is a great win for the union movement and all Aussie workers.
Trading Hours Review
Earlier this year, the Queensland government held an inquiry into the Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990. The SDA made a submission to the review to keep trading hours protections for retail workers.
The review committee adopted several recomendations from the SDA’s submission, including:
- enhanced work protections for employees, so they can freely choose whether to work in extended trading hours;
- further requirements to declare a ‘special event’ and request temporary extended trading hours for non-exempt retail stores’;
- a 12 month extension to the moratorium, which prevents changes to the Trading (Allowable hours) act.
These changes were passed into law in August. The SDA will continue to represent members interests in Trading Hours matters, as we know maintaining a reasonable work/life balance is a priority for SDA members.
Work Health and Safety Act review
In October, the Queensland government held a review of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (QLD) to consider the overall effectiveness of the act and consider any necessary amendments to the legislation.
In the interests of members, the SDA made a comprehensive submission to the review, focused on the following areas:
- Tougher penalties for perpetrators of customer violence and abuse against retail and fast food workers;
- safe and free parking for retail and fast food workers;
- require employers to promote and educate workers about the Health and Safety representative (HSR) program;
- prohibition on employers coercing workers not to run to be a HSR or withdrawing their application;
- recommending workers who form part of a Health and Safety Committee be required to attend training provided by their choice of RTO approved regulator, the same training as a HSR attends; and
- Disallow Incentive payment schemes in connection to Lost Time Injury Reduction.
These amendments to the legislation would help to make workplaces safer for retail, fast food and warehouse workers and we look forward to hearing the findings of the review early in 2023.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all SDA members and their families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
While this is a very busy time for many people in these industries, I hope you have the opportunity to spend time with your family and relax.
Thanks to the SDA, Christmas Eve is now a public holiday from 6pm until midnight, and you will also enjoy two additional public holidays in on Tuesday, 27 December 2022 and Monday, 2 January 2022.
Remember, for many members working under SDA negotiated Agreements, public holidays are voluntary. This includes team members at Woolworths, Coles, Big W, Kmart, Officeworks, David Jones and many others. Please see the SDA’s public holiday bulletins delivered to your email or on your noticeboard for more information.