AMIEU Coles Members National Newsletter - October 2014

Further meetings have been held in the SDA headquarters in Melbourne between the AMIEU, the SDA, the TWU and Coles regarding Coles push to cover meat units in the retail agreement rather than our meat agreements, and to strip away conditions that you fought hard for.

We are constantly asked by our members ‘why are we even there?’

It’s certainly not that we want to be there but we know what will happen to your conditions if we are not there to try and protect them.

The SDA and Coles are negotiating away meat unit conditions between themselves and they are relying on the bigger numbers of store workers to over-rule meat workers and make an agreement for the store that gives away meat unit conditions.

Already we have seen the SDA make an agreement with Coles that once they get a national agreement covering meat workers then the ability for future meat unit workers to refuse or dispute the need to work out in the store will be gone.  So far the SDA says they will protect the current employees but any new starters will be required to come and go from the other parts of the store on any rosters as Coles sees fit.  This is of course an absolute slap in the face for us to have another Union trade away one of the most fought-over provisions of our agreements Australia-wide.

The SDA have also proposed buy-out provisions for our penalty rates in Western Australia.

Coles have refused steadfastly to negotiate with us a national meat unit agreement and have become so arrogant that they now are refusing to answer our questions as to what would convince them to negotiate a national meat agreement.

They now pose their meat related proposals to the SDA in complete defiance of our log of claims or position on negotiations in the hope that the SDA will sell us out.

We have equally steadfastly refused to become part of the retail agreement.

In the meantime we still have our application before the Fair Work Commission to try and have us separated away from the retail negotiations.  The Transport Workers Union have also made a similar application and we are both now waiting on hearings to commence.

The TWU hearings are on during the first week of December and the AMIEU application will be heard during the second week of December in Sydney.  We will provide more details of the hearings as we get closer.

If this application is successful then we will be able to negotiate a national meat agreement instead of being roped into the store National Retail Agreement.

Every Branch of the AMIEU across Australia has had representatives present at the negotiation meetings and so if any member wants any further information about what has been said and/or done at these meetings please feel free to contact your local Branch officials.

We are at the pointy end in these negotiations where meat conditions have been discussed but pretty much danced around until now, but the SDA has either settled or withdrawn most of their claims for their members now and meat is the real focus.

This is the point in time where Coles will press hard to get rid of what they believe are inflexibilities in our rostering and other arrangements and also get rid of our penalty rates in meat units.  This is where we need to be present in the negotiations and be able to let you know exactly what meat conditions are being sold to Coles and by whom.  It certainly won’t be the AMIEU selling them in return for a National Retail Agreement that’s for sure.

We ask members to be ready to support a national Vote NO campaign and talk to and encourage other store workers to do the same.

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

Graham Smith
Federal Secretary