AMIEU Coles Members - National Newsletter May 2014


The AMIEU Federal Officials have now met twice with Coles who are trying to foist the national supermarket agreement with the SDA onto AMIEU members who are currently covered by state based enterprise agreements. This push affects AMIEU members in all states except for Queensland, however Queensland AMIEU members are most definitely affected by the negotiations for a new agreement in any event and therefore this brings all AMIEU members across the country together.

Some Answers to Common Questions

  1. Why meet with Coles at all?  We are unfortunately drawn into a legal system that allows agreements to be made that can potentially cover employees, even though they work under an existing agreement. This means that we must attend the meetings or we risk having the other bargaining representatives in the room negotiate away your conditions.
  2. Who are the Bargaining Representatives? At this stage the bargaining representatives are from four Unions, the AMIEU, the SDA, the AWU and the TWU. Coles are also trying to rope in the drivers and they too are objecting to being under the retail agreement.  There are also provisions in the law for anyone to nominate themselves or another person to represent them. We understand that some people have done this but we have not seen them at the negotiations yet.
  3. Are we agreeing to be under the Retail Agreement? The AMIEU position is clearly that we do not want to be covered under the retail agreement and that we want to maintain the existing state based agreements.
  4. Is there a possibility of a national Meat Unit Agreement? Yes. The AMIEU is also looking at the possibility of achieving a national agreement just for meat unit workers across the country including the Queensland workers who are currently under the retail agreement. The TWU is also pursuing a similar course for the drivers.

So what’s happened already at the negotiations?

Each branch of the AMIEU has sent representatives of the branch, which include both branch Union officials and store representatives from meat units around the country, whom the Union is flying to the negotiations at our expense.

So far we have listened to the SDA present their log of claims, the TWU have presented theirs and Coles have presented their log, entitled business requirement document.

The AMIEU has not yet presented a log of claims but we have rejected all of Coles’ claims that have the effect of reducing meat unit conditions in any state or branch and we have also advised Coles that we believe that their actions are contemptible. They are attempting to use the numbers of the non-meat unit workers to outvote the meat unit workers and strip away hard fought for conditions of employment in the process.

We will present a log of claims to Coles soon but because the company gave us no warning of this treacherous action by them we had no time to be prepared for negotiations that affect the state branches that are working under existing enterprise agreements.  We have been busy collating the information from each of the existing agreements in order to be sure that we cover all of the existing terms and conditions for all of the meat units in the various states.

The next meetings scheduled are the 2nd June and the 27th June in the SDA offices in Melbourne.

What can members do now?

You will have seen by now the petitions that we have been taking around the supermarkets. It is extremely important that you make your views known in this process by signing the petitions and encouraging others to do likewise.

If you haven’t seen the petitions yet, please contact the Union office in your state and ask for an organiser to come to your store.

We also need to be appraised of any movements at store level to present documents of any kind to the workers in stores whether it be the meat units or otherwise.

Any bulletins or newsletters that arrive in your store or anything else that looks important to these negotiations, comments by other union officials etc, please contact your state branch and just check that we are aware of these important pieces of information.

All members need also to be aware that if a proposed agreement is circulated by management for approval by the workforce via a vote without prior AMIEU advice to you about it, we need every one of our members to actively encourage all persons affected by it to vote:  NO


Graham Smith
Federal Secretary