From the desk of the secretary

July 27, 2018 Newsletters

By Chris Gazenbeek, SDA State Secretary.


Since the last SDA News, the Fair Work Commission has approved the Coles Retail Agreement. This is an excellent outcome for Coles members who now have an Agreement which delivers pay rises for every worker, protects take home pay, improves penalty rates and secures hard won union conditions.

Members have received their pay rise in July and future pay rises will be linked to National Wage Case decisions.

The FWC decision comes after 90% of Coles workers voted to accept the new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement in February.

Now that the Commission has approved this Agreement, Coles members can look forward to better pay and hard won union conditions.

It is noteworthy that the new Coles agreement has a different wage structure and importantly, it delivers strong wages outcomes for both existing and new Coles employees.

New Coles employees will receive the new Agreement’s wage rates which are higher than those in the Award and they will receive the full pay percentage increase each year.

The new Agreement maintains many conditions contained in previous SDA-Coles agreements such as voluntary work on public holidays as well as rostering provisions to accommodate family and study commitments and safe transport home.

Part-time employees will have the right to request an increase in their base contracted hours if their average hours worked across the year are higher than their base hours. Casual employees will have the right to request to convert to full-time or part-time if they have worked a pattern of hours over 12 months, subject to some conditions.
It is also very significant that the new Agreement introduces two days paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave.


Woolworths members have been waiting too long for a wage increase. As such, it is important to secure a new Agreement for members so we can protect and improve members’ wages and working conditions into the future.

We have been negotiating with Woolworths for some time and at the time of writing, significant progress has been made on a proposed Enterprise Agreement.We expect to have an in-principle Agreement in the coming weeks.

Based on the endorsement of our Shop Stewards throughout Australia, we took four key principles into the negotiations. They were:

  • Protect take-home pay
  • Improve penalty rates
  • Secure hard-won SDA Union conditions; and
  • Ensure pay rises for all employees.


We have reached an in-principle agreement with Kmart. SDA Shop Stewards have met around Australia and overwhelmingly endorsed a new EBA which will protect existing employees’ higher rates of pay, contain full award penalty rates, provide pay rises for all, a $450 bonus payment for full-time employees with a pro-rata payment for part-time and casual employees, two days paid domestic violence leave and preserve above award conditions.

The new agreement maintains hard won above award conditions such as superior rostering provisions, voluntary work on public holidays, additional public holidays and better leave provisions.

Once the new agreement has been drafted, the proposed EBA will then be put to a vote of employees.

Other companies

We are also continuing negotiations with Bunnings, The Just Group, Pizza Hut, Hungry Jacks and negotiations are about to commence in Big W, DJ’s and Officeworks.

Successful Labour Day 2018

It was great to see over 200 SDA members and supporters turn up for the Labour Day march in Brisbane and about 35 at the Rockhampton march. Labour Day recognises the important contribution which working people have made to Australia and celebrates the union movement winning the 8 hour day. The pioneers of the SDA and the union movement fought for the rights we enjoy today and in 2018 we now have to ‘Change The Rules’ to keep Australia fair for hardworking Australians.

One day training seminar

The SDA has always placed a huge importance on the training of our Shop Stewards and Delegates. We know that a trained Steward or Delegate better represents the members at their workplace.

Over 500 Stewards and Delegates attended the day and the feedback has been very positive. Those present appreciated that the SDA National Secretary, Gerard Dwyer, and National Assistant Secretary, Julia Fox gave presentations on the day. Gerard spoke on the importance of the SDA continuing to be a bargaining union and Julia gave us an update on the very successful ‘NO One Deserves A Serve’ campaign.

There were further presentations on the importance of the retention of hard won SDA conditions, the challenges ahead, the ‘Change the Rules’ campaign, WorkCover and superannuation.
It was a very full day and I’m very thankful that our loyal Stewards and Delegates attended from as far away as Rocky and Roma. It proves once again that SDA Stewards and Delegates truly care about the SDA and the members they represent in their workplaces.