The SDA fights back!
By Chris Gazenbeek, State Secretary
Wherever you look, retail workers, hospitality workers and fast food workers are in the firing line. Whether it is weekend penalty rates, public holiday penalty rates, general trading hours or public holiday trading, there are so many forces working against the interests of SDA members.
These include some politicians who should know better, economic rationalists, media commentators and lazy journalists. They have invariably advocated for longer shop trading hours and supported the reduction or abolition of penalty rates.
When we listen to such people, you can only conclude that they have never ‘walked in the shoes of SDA members’. They have no idea of what it is like to live from one pay to the next. They have no idea of what it’s like to have to decide whether to pay for shoes because they need to be replaced or put petrol in the car. They have no real understanding of the frustration of serving a customer at 8.55pm on a Saturday evening when the same customer couldn’t be bothered getting to the shops before 5.00pm. They cannot possibly comprehend that retail workers have as much rights as they when it comes to spending time with loved ones on a Saturday evening.
On a brighter note, I have been encouraged by the response the union has received from the general public on the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reduce penalty rates. The general public’s view has overwhelmingly been that the FWC decision was unnecessary and somewhat cruel. The public fully understands that the FWC decision sets a dangerous precedent which may negatively affect their jobs in the future.
I invite members to read the article written by the SDA’s National Secretary, Gerard Dwyer. Quite clearly, the FWC decision will negatively impact upon our award based members and that is why the SDA is pushing for a 10% pay rise in addition to the ACTU’s push for a $45 wage increase in the National Wage Case.
Why let truth get in the way of a good story
Over the last two years, there has been deliberate misreporting of the facts by some journalists concerning enterprise bargaining. They have continually made glaring factual errors which they have never corrected. Regrettably, these same mistruths have now become facts in the eyes of some conservative politicians.
Untruth – Unions have traded away weekend penalty rates for retail workers
Fact – Unions have never traded away weekend penalty rates. Their value has always been retained through the rolling up of rates of pay and improved working conditions which has been supported by the ACTU.
In the retail sector, this practice of rolling up rates in SDA negotiated Enterprise Agreements have delivered weekly wages $90 higher than the award rate for major supermarket chain employees. Furthermore, in the Coles Retail EBA for example, 18 and 19 year olds receive $100 to $150 above the award.
At Bunnings and Costco, adult retail workers receive a weekly wage rate $130 above the award due to their EBA.
Untruth – Fast food workers are worse off under union sanctioned EBAs
Fact – Australia’s fast food workers are among the highest paid in the world. Senior weekly wages are $50 – $65 a week higher than the fast food award and fast food EBAs invariably contain superior conditions such as guaranteed minimum shifts of 10 hours per week, shorter maximum shifts, compassionate, study and domestic violence leave.
The old adage
After observing the deliberate misreporting by some journalists over the last two years, I can only agree with the old adage, “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers”. I only wish conservative politicians conducted better research than some journalists who are not interested in determining the facts.
In this bumper edition of the SDA News, I invite members to read about our four competitions and family footy night.