December 14, 2020 Know Your Rights Our Resources

By Justin Power, Assistant Secretary

A Scan Rate true story

  • Three years ago, a supermarket had sales which were well below Head Office’s expectations. One major reason for the poor sales was the lack of returning customers. Also, staff morale was very low and staff turnover was very high;
  • Head Office made the decision to transfer one of its best managers into the store;
    Within the first week of her arrival, the new store manager had meetings with her management team, sought the views of the team members and also decided to have a chat to the two SDA Shop Stewards and the SDA Organiser;
  • The store manager quickly learned that the previous store manager was a poor communicator, intimidated his staff and only viewed them through the prism of arbitrary numbers. For example, he relied on scan rates in determining the worth of his register operators;
  • The new store manager determined that her new staff felt that they were not valued by the company and immediately decided to change the culture of the store;
  • The store manager informed the staff that she didn’t care about scan rates and carton counts. In particular, the store manager strongly encouraged her register operators to communicate with all customers who passed through their registers;
  • The store manager’s immediate goal was to improve customer retention. She encouraged the team to make sure that the customers enjoyed their total shopping experience;
  • Initially, the staff were sceptical about the new direction but within a matter of months, they were once again happy to go to work;
  • The store manager continually consulted with her management team, the team members, the SDA Shop Stewards and Organiser;
  • Within six months, sales had dramatically increased, customers increasingly noticed that the staff were far happier and Head Office was delighted;
  • Importantly, staff morale had noticeably increased in the store.

SDA’s position

  • Scan rates are counter productive;
  • There are so many variables in the operation of registers;
  • Scan rates do not establish an employee’s output or worth;
  • The SDA strongly supports the concept of a ‘fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay’. This concept supports the principle of fairness as opposed to Head Office dictating the output of workers;
  • Perceptive managers realise that many customers don’t like the idea of robots taking over the jobs of fellow Queenslanders. As such, many customers purposely choose to speak to a register operator because for some, it may be their only human contact for the day.

SDA Advice

If you are being counselled or warned for not reaching set targets, you should immediately contact your Shop Steward or the union office for confidential advice.

Some good news

I was having a chat to one of our Organisers the other day and he told me why a member of his was so ‘stoked’ that she had joined the SDA some four years earlier.

The story goes something like this:

  • Beth left home that morning without a care in the world;
  • Performing her normal job, Beth slipped on a slippery surface and then noticed that she had shooting pains in her arm;
  • Beth sought the assistance from her store manager;
  • The manager rung the company’s ‘dial a nurse’ as per the company procedure;
  • The ‘dial a nurse’ after hearing about the incident suggested that Beth had a strained arm and she should be fine;
  • Some hours later, Beth still had a painful arm and then sought the assistance of her SDA Shop Steward;
  • Beth’s Shop Steward suggested that Beth should visit her own Doctor;
  • The Doctor suggested that Beth have an x-ray;
  • The x-ray revealed that Beth’s arm had two fractures;
  • After ringing the union office upon the suggestion of her Shop Steward, Beth learned that her injury was covered by workers’ compensation;
  • The company accepted the workers’ compensation claim and Beth is now on the road to recovery.

Lessons for all of us

Because Beth was an SDA member, she was able to seek the assistance from her Shop Steward, Organiser and the SDA’s legal team. All assistance offered including the legal help was FREE because Beth was an SDA member;

Beth is so happy she joined the SDA some four years ago and encourages all non-members to invest in themselves by joining and maintaining their SDA membership.