Coles Supermarkets EBA Negotiations July 2008

July 2008


The Coles Negotiating Committee consisting of Graham Bird, Union Secretary, Paul Conway, Union Assistant Secretary, Laurie Burley and Bob Savine, Union Organisers, and Steve Casini (Eastland), David Jeffries (Pakenham), Jason Peters (Burwood East), Tony Zaffiro (Balaclava), Graham Yates (donvale), Dione Pedrina (Oakleigh), Andrey Nyko (Deer Park) and Mick Davidson (Boronia), has had a number of meetings with Coles HR Management.

As a result of these negotiations the committee has unanimously agreed to recommend to Coles members a new Coles Agreement for the next 3 years.
The Committee believes that the new Agreement is a good one. It maintains existing conditions, and also introduces measures to encourage new workers into the trade of retail butcher, and for Coles to re-open cutting rooms and expand their meat sales.


1. 3 year agreement.

2. Wage increases of 4% per annum compounded.  All allowances will also be increased by 4% p.a.

3. Wage increase for apprentices:
1st Year increase from 50% to 65% of the butcher’s rate
2nd Year 65 to 75%
3rd Year 85 to 90%
4th Year 95%.

The general 4% wage increase will apply on top of the apprentice percentage increase.

The Union has also agreed to explore with Coles the possibility of introducing a 3 year retail butcher apprenticeship in Victoria.  This requires Government approval. 

If this happens the rates of pay for apprentices would be:
1st Year  75% of the butcher’s rate
2nd Year  90%
3rd Year  95%.

Any adult taking up an apprenticeship would be paid the 2nd Year rate for their first two years.

Any existing packer or cabinet attendant who takes up an apprenticeship will be paid their existing rate of pay until the apprenticeship rate catches up.

4. Introduction of Meat Trades Assistant. 
This will enable workers to be trained in Certificate 1 and 11 in the Meat Retailing National Industry Standards.  On completion the worker will be paid 90% of the butcher’s rate.  Those who complete this qualification and wish to continue on to complete the butchery trade qualification will be able to do so.

The introduction of this qualification will not result in any meat room member being displaced or made redundant.  Butchers and members with trade qualifications will remain in the majority in non-retail ready meat departments (relative to Meat Trades Assistants) to perform the work as prescribed under the trade qualifications. This classification has been agreed upon to ensure the survival of the trade by the introduction of a two-pathway system to achieve a trade qualification.

5. Retention of weekend penalties. 
75% Saturday and 100% Sunday.
Working on Saturday and Sunday remain voluntary for full timers.

Coles was very keen to reduce the Saturday penalty to 50% and to make work on Saturday compulsory.  This was rejected.

Workers employed in meat rooms in Victorian supermarkets remain the only retail workers in Australia to receive a penalty for working on Saturday.

The spread of hours has been increased to 5-6 Monday to Friday and 5-9 on Saturday.

6. Cabinet Attendants
Protection of the adult rate of pay for all workers employed as Cabinet Attendants.  Coles once again attempted to introduce junior rates for Cabinet Attendants.

7. Meat Managers
Meat Managers who are engaged from a date to be determined by Coles, some time after the commencement of this Agreement may be engaged as staff on conditions that may be different from those of this Agreement.  Their wages must be at least 105% of the butchers rate. 

Meat Managers engaged prior to this time, including all existing meat managers, may determine whether or not to stay employed pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Agreement, or whether to accept an offer from Coles that takes them outside the terms of the Agreement.  Either way they retain the right to be a Union member, and be represented by the Union.

8. Accident Pay
Accident pay to be paid at the member’s ordinary time earnings including any penalties, i.e. 75% Saturday or 100% Sunday, that may apply.

9. Relief Team Members
This has applied for some time outside the Agreement and is now part of the Agreement.  It allows Coles to employ butchers on a permanent or casual basis to work in stores for up to 2 months whenever a butcher is on leave, or where there are labour shortages.  This does not affect the Company’s ability to ask members to go to another store after a shift has started and where a travel allowance and travel time are payable.

10. Family Responsibilities
A new clause has been included to ensure that Coles has regard for family responsibilities when establishing or changing a roster.

11. Overtime
Only by agreement, overtime may be taken as time off at the overtime equivalent e.g. time and a half or double time, within 28 days of the overtime being worked.

12. Annual Leave
Only by agreement:
(a) Annual Leave may be taken for periods of less than 1 week, including single days, and
(b) When there is an accrued Annual Leave entitlement of more than 4 weeks, a maximum of 2 weeks per annum may be paid out.
13. Family Leave
Introduction of a family leave clause which enables a permanent worker to use up to 10 days of their accrued sick leave entitlement p.a. to provide care or support to an immediate family member or when there is an emergency. 

There is also a provision for unpaid family leave.  This also applies to casuals.  This allows up to 2 days unpaid leave for each occasion that a member needs to care for a family member or in an emergency.

For permanent employees the paid leave must be taken before the unpaid leave can be used. Coles retains the right to ask the employee for proof of the illness or emergency.

14. Parental Leave
Parental Leave has been increased so that an extra 52 weeks can be requested.  Coles rejected our claim for paid maternity leave.  It may be introduced by a Rudd Government.

15. Leave of Absence 
By Agreement unpaid leave of absence can be granted to allow for :
Study and/or to attend exams
Care for sick or impaired close relatives
Travel for an extended time
Full time study.

It cannot be taken until any paid leave is used, and it cannot be used to work elsewhere for a competitor.

16. All other conditions remain, including butchers picnic, and the right to take unfair dismissal cases to the AIRC for determination.

Good Agreement
The negotiating Committee believes that this is a very good agreement for the next 3 years. 

We are hopeful that the agreement encourages Coles management to once again look positively at the sale of meat and to have meat rooms that the membership are proud to work in.

Voting Procedure
Copies of the Agreement will be available from 14th July.  The law requires that this be available to you for 2 weeks prior to a vote.
The Union will issue another newsletter and voting slips to be available from 28th July.  Two weeks will be allowed for the vote to take place. 
If you have any questions please contact your Union Organisers
Laurie Burley 0418 103627 or Bob Savine 0417 328854, or the Union office.