The important role of the SDA Industrial Officers
By Chris Gazenbeek, SDA State Secretary
The SDA Queensland Branch has three full-time Industrial Officers. All are legally trained and play an important role in the Branch. Darryn, Stephanie and Laura work closely with the Secretary, Chris Gazenbeek and the Assistant Secretary, Justin Power, the Information Officers and the Organisers.
They play an integral role in the grievance or disputes procedure, play a pivotal role in retaining and gaining improvements in our Enterprise Agreements and Awards and continue to address issues on a daily basis.
Since 1 September 2018 up to 30 September 2019, our three Industrial Officers have assisted in 397 industrial matters including WorkCover. Their workload includes wage discrepancies, bullying, harassment, rostering, leave entitlements, redundancies and dismissals.
They were also involved in Enterprise and Award negotiations which involve a large series of meetings. It is important for our Industrial Officers to attend such meetings as they provide a valuable resource for the Secretary and Assistant Secretary.
WorkCover matters range from general assistance in the processing of a claim, guidance on how to lodge a claim, how to ensure rehabilitation is progressing, reviews of decisions and arranging legal assistance in the conduct of reviews and appeals. WorkCover is a legal minefield for our members and our Industrial Officers provide excellent support to our members.
The restructure process was completed on 30 September 2019.
- Woolworths announced that it had investigated Salary pay ranges and have as a result undertaken to backpay underpayments for a period since 2010.
- SDA Industrial Officers attended to some 300 enquiries and advices since the announcement.
- The first period of review (04/09/17 to 31/08/19) has been completed and company is in process of advising and paying affected team members.
- SDA is working through and regularly meeting the company. We last met on 22 December 2019 and we will continue to process any grievances which are presented to us by our Woolworths members.
This issue is on-going and it is expected that our three Industrial Officers will be spending a great deal of time and energy in this area throughout 2020.
Disputes at Commission
As per the various grievances procedures in our Enterprise Agreements and General Awards, the SDA’s Industrial Officers play a pivotal role throughout the process. In 2019, they were heavily involved in disputes which ended up in the Industrial Commission. For example, the Coles Distribution Centres closures occupied a great deal of time.
State and National negotiations:
There were state negotiations at the API DC, the Big W DC, the Coles DCs, the Kmart DC, the Reject Shop DC, the Lifeline DCs and The Woolworths BLDC. 2020 will be just as busy. I haven’t detailed the national negotiations as they were too numerous to mention.
Finally, our Industrial Officers were involved in Trading Hours and Occupational Health and Safety matters.
In closing, I hope that members, by reading this article, have gained a greater understanding of the important work our Industrial Officers do each day for the membership.