Dear member,

We are currently trying to prove to the Fair Work Commission that the majority of meat unit workers in Coles want to negotiate a new agreement to replace the current expired ones. Coles have tried their hardest to frustrate those attempts by restricting your Union official’s entry into the stores, and then by trying to create confusion at the Fair Work Commission.

As a result, the Fair Work Commission has listened to the AMIEU and has ordered the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to run a ballot of workers to see if the majority want the Union to negotiate a new deal with Coles.

The ballot will apply to Union members and non-Union members alike and so we want all of our members to encourage any non-Union members to vote yes because it must be the majority of overall meat unit worker’s opinions that count.

Do you have to return a ballot to the AEC?

The ballot is non-compulsory but without a majority of workers returning a ballot the Union will be stopped from negotiating with Coles as a right.  In other words, if the majority of workers do not vote then you will be left on your expired agreements indefinitely. So in a sense, the answer is YES.  You must return a ballot or we may not succeed.

I already signed a petition.  Do I have to vote again?

YES. The petition was circulated by the Union in order to convince the Fair Work Commission to order a ballot through the AEC. That has now happened and the AEC ballot is separate to the original petition.

Why do non-members get a say?

This is simply a part of the law that says that if we want to get negotiations going then we have to show that a majority of the affected workers want to bargain for a new agreement. The law does not care if they are Union members or not. If they do not return a ballot, then we risk not getting the majority if all of our members do not vote.

In a nutshell:

Vote YES, return your ballot paper to the AEC, and encourage anyone who you know is not a Union member to do so as well. Show them this newsletter or post it in your store if you like.

Without a new deal we are open to further attack by the SDA and cannot achieve pay rises.

Graham Smith
Federal Secretary