National Newsletter - AMIEU Supermarket Members - June 2016


Dear member,

As you may have seen reported in the media, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has found that the Coles and SDA agreement FAILS the Better off Overall Test (BOOT). The agreement was compared to the award and, after an exhaustive series of arguments about the alleged benefits of the agreement over the award, the Fair Work Commission found that the agreement as a whole, paid “significantly” less than the industry award.  (The award is also due for a 2.4% wage rise in July with no offsets or trade-offs.)

Fair Work Commission Decision:

[33] Taking into account all of these matters we are not satisfied that the Agreement passes the BOOT. For some employees, particularly those who work primarily at times which attract lower penalty rates under the Agreement when compared to the Award, the loss in monetary terms is potentially significant. The potential loss is likely to be of significance for part-time and casual employees. (emphasis added)

You will note that any attempted spin to make this look like the problem is only with a “small cohort of employees” is clearly deluded at best, and outright lies at worst.  Someone obviously used the same calculator to work out how many employees are affected by the bad deal as what they did to calculate the ‘benefits’ of the agreement.

The decision shows that the bargaining strategy of the SDA is flawed.

Coles have until the 10th June to offer undertakings to the Commission that either cap the number of penalty shifts a person can work or to make up any shortfall in wages when compared to the award. If Coles do not provide either of these undertakings then the Commission has ruled that the agreement fails the BOOT and will be quashed.

In the meantime, Woolworths have held off presenting their agreement to workers to vote on whilst they watched the Coles saga. They too now have significant questions to answer about various clauses of that agreement that also strip away award penalty payments and loadings.

We will now attempt to meet with Woolworths to find out what they intend to do about their proposed agreement which has been sitting in limbo since agreement in principle with the SDA occurred last year. Of note, a Victorian Woolworths supermarket has nominated its own bargaining rep now too.

More news soon.

Graham Smith
Federal Secretary