AMIEU Coles Members - National Newsletter - JULY 2014


The AMIEU has now met with Coles and the various Unions that are proposed to be covered by the national store agreement on several occasions. We have taken delegates from the stores in each state to these negotiations in Melbourne on every occasion. This has been at our expense for travel and accommodation but we must ensure that we maintain our approach of having members from the stores be present for first-hand experience and knowledge.

A common feature of Coles’ negotiations is for Coles to send a legion of upper management executives who think that what is decided at corporate headquarters is actually what happens at the store level.  It is always very useful (and sometimes very entertaining too) when our members tell them the reality of what really happens at store level. We have always found it a particular strength of AMIEU negotiations to have our delegates present to share their knowledge and experience and participate meaningfully in the negotiations.  This is not a feature of SDA negotiations where their executive body of their union handles all of that.

The proposed agreement will cover all store workers including those workers covered by the Australian Workers Union (AWU) in Queensland, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) nationally, the AMIEU nationally and the SDA nationally.

The AMIEU and the TWU have both opposed this process and are insisting on our own agreements. In the case of the AMIEU this means that we want to retain of all of our state based existing enterprise agreements.

The AWU and the SDA have a joint log of claims and work together during this process.

We are in a catch 22 at this moment. If we do not attend the meetings with Coles and the other unions, the SDA and AWU will negotiate an agreement to a conclusion with Coles and then roll it out for their members to vote on. AMIEU members will all get a vote but will be outnumbered by the SDA membership. This means that we must attend the meetings and try to maintain all of our existing conditions whether by the current agreements or as part of a national agreement.

Agreed Future Meeting Dates

Negotiations are continuing to be conducted at the offices of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association in Melbourne as follows:

•    18th July
•    24th and 25th July
•    29th and 30th July
•    8th and 9th September

What has happened so far?

The AMIEU team has submitted a log of claims of some 76 items which protects all current meat unit conditions across the country and in some cases such as in Queensland, seeks to move their conditions into closer alignment with the rest of the country’s meat conditions.

Our core position at every meeting is;

  1. Protect the existing AMIEU Coles agreements
  2. Failing to achieve 1 above, move to a national meat agreement for all of the meat unit workers only.

We are watching carefully to see whether or not the SDA agree to reductions in any meat unit conditions during negotiations and will advise you all accordingly. At this stage that has not happened but that does not mean that they will maintain any support for our position if they think that their members will benefit from allowing concessions in meat units.

What can members do now?

The first few meetings were somewhat formal with each union and Coles exchanging their respective logs of claims. Now we are at the point where people start to alter their positions in order to try and reach an agreement and this is of course where it all gets interesting.

We will keep you informed as anything of significance happens but at this stage our message to our members is pretty clear;

Talk to the people around you regardless of what union they belong to (and even non-members of any union) and tell them to watch closely and be ready to get involved.

People should be aware of what is going on and should be ready to support one another to ensure that everyone at Coles gets a decent outcome from any bargaining.

Do not see the store workers as our enemy. They are not. Many of them have shown their active support for us to maintain our meat unit conditions.  We need their continued support.

When it comes to an agreement that reduces your current terms just remember Coles’ policy when it goes to the vote:

Vote No

Down! Down!

Graham Smith
Federal Secretary