Victoria applies to Fair Work to take protected industrial action

On the 11th August the Victorian branch of the AMIEU attended a FWA conference to determine if the Victorian AMIEU Coles meat room workers could take protected strike action.

We were unsuccessful in this application due to section 438 (1) of the FWA. Due to the fact that Coles had rejected our first proposition of retaining state based agreements and in order to demonstrate good faith bargaining the Union put together our AMIEU condition retention document which is based on the position of a National Meat Room Agreement. Due to the fact that the AMIEU was trying to bargain a National agreement under section 438 (1) of the FWA it prevents us from taking industrial action until the last state based agreement is 30 days out from expiry, which in this case South Australia has some 18 months before it expires.

However the Union needed to bargain for a National meat room agreement in order to apply for a scope order, Catch 22. The AMIEU applied for a scope order to separate ourselves from the National retail agreement. This application was opposed by Coles, SDA & AWU.

Following further discussion after it was obvious that Coles would not consider a National Meat Room Agreement the Victorian Branch of the AMIEU withdrew from the National Agreement and reinstated our original claim, that is the retention of the state based agreement. Coles did not respond.

On 20th November the AMIEU Victorian Branch applied again for a protected action ballot order. This application also has been opposed by Coles.

Usually the application is determined within 2 working days but this time the Commissioner required more time. The next meeting at the Fair Work Commission is at 2pm on Monday 8 December 2014.

As the orders are usually given where parties have been involved in genuine bargaining, we believe that we should receive the protected action ballot order. Once that is achieved there are several more steps before protected industrial action can take place. First there must be a vote by secret ballot which is organised by the Electoral Commission; 50% of the eligible people must vote; and 50% of the vote must be in favour of action. Then the Union has to give the employer at least 3 working days written notice that the action will take place!

Watch this space
The AMIEU will write to every member who works in Coles soon so make sure that we have your correct and current address.