Coles Finalises Condition Cuts - Accepts Must Pay Penalty Rates
Coles has been forced to agree to the RAFFWU member driven campaign to return award penalty, shift and other rates. When implemented, this will see over 70% of staff secure higher weekly wages. Many staff will earn thousands more for the same hours. This has been a two year campaign fought against Coles and SDA. Even now, Coles is refusing to guarantee it will implement the new wages if it wins its termination case. Coles has also determined it will introduce:
- A two tier workforce with a form of a savings provision to maintain current higher rates where workers earn more under current paid rates than the Award;
- Half the wage increase of other staff for those who have a saved higher rate (conceded by SDA prior to negotiations commencing);
- Full implementation of Award penalty rates albeit at a lower base rate (achieved by RAFFWU);
- Basic casual conversion rights (only claimed by RAFFWU);
- Paid rest breaks for four hour shifts (claimed and achieved by RAFFWU);
- Provision of uniforms at no charge (only claimed and won by RAFFWU);
- An end to split shifts (achieved by RAFFWU);
- Numerous cuts to current workplace rights (conceded by SDA);
- Award penalty rate “mirroring” if current FWC/Court cases change the Award; and
- The right for all workers to be represented in disputes or “change” processes by a representative of their choice, including RAFFWU.
Now Coles has agreed a sign on payment for a full-time worker of $475 and pro rated for the hours worked but the actual structure is yet to be determined. Only RAFFWU claimed a sign on payment to recognise the lengthy period without wage increases. We sought a full week’s wage and this outcome is just over half that amount. Others will try to claim credit for this outcome. Only RAFFWU claimed this and when SDA proposed to cut our proposed payment to $475, Coles immediately agreed. We know if SDA had not so easily conceded we could have secured more.
This payment will not be paid before 15 January 2018 and SDA has conceded to Coles that it will only be paid to those employed as at 30 June 2017 (and still employed if and when the Agreement is approved.)
Coles and SDA have also agreed:
- The non-saved tier (lower base rate) will have an effective loading of 5c per hour or 0.2% more than the actual minimum possible payment;
- All flex up for part-time staff will be paid at non-casual rates – although some will now get penalty rates because of RAFFWU and all will accrue leave;
- The saved base rate tier will not include any laundry allowance;
- Reduced minimum hours for part-time staff to 9 hours (allowing 3 by 3 hour shifts);
- The non-saved tier will build in laundry allowance to the rate so there will be no separate payment;
- NSW Picnic Day will only occur in 2018 and then be abolished;
- Victorian Accident Makeup Pay will only apply to staff employed in Victoria at the time of the agreement being approved and no subsequent new employees;
- The non-saved tier will receive the 2018 and 2019 FWC annual wage review increases;
- The saved tier will receive half the 2018 and 2019 FWC annual wage review increases; and
- Any legislated restoration of Sunday or other penalty rates will not apply.
This is a remarkable selling out of workers considering the pressure on Coles to reach a new agreement ahead of the possible termination of the 2011 Agreement. Coles is refusing to even put the agreement to vote until the termination case is resolved – potentially walking away from any deal if they win the termination case. A worker will need to work 200 hours a week to earn the SDA membership fee ($10) more than the Award wage. (There are 168 hours in a week!)
That said, this will mean a huge wage increase for more than 70% of Coles workers because RAFFWU intervention delivers the minimum Award penalty rates. We are continuing to press for full back pay to 2015 of the wages foregone because Coles and SDA stripped penalty rates in the past.
Representing Members at Coles
We represent members who appoint us as their bargaining representative in bargaining with Coles. We provide your appointment letter/email to Coles and they must then negotiate with us as your bargaining representative. We have participated in all bargaining meetings since Coles announced it would bargain in late June 2017.
SDA and Coles have used every agreement negotiation over the past 20 years to strip conditions and they have done it again this time. RAFFWU members are active in store, with workmates and in negotiations. The cuts to conditions and establishment of a two tier workforce will mean massive upheaval and major roster changes. More information is available in our special videos published here.
Now is the time to have a union in your corner that fights for your rights, doesn't concede to the management line and campaigns for the best possible outcome. That is RAFFWU.
If you want our union to negotiate with Coles as your bargaining representative for the claims below you need to join RAFFWU, appoint us as your bargaining representative, and tell your colleagues! After completing the form below you will be taken to our membership page to complete the sign up process.
Summary Log of Claims
- 5% annual wage increases for each year the agreement is in operation;
- Full allowances including laundry allowance of $1.50 every shift;
- One week’s sign on payment and backpay of lost penalty rates;
- Full restoration of penalty rates including
- 25% on weeknights and Saturdays;
- 100% on Sunday;
- 25% casual loading in addition to all penalty and shift rates;
- Full shift penalties for workers who work across the night;
- Abolition of junior rates;
- All time spent working to be paid, including at the conclusion of work such as closing departments, stores, registers or the like;
- No changes to rosters without agreement;
- Casual staff choice to convert to ongoing employment;
- Part-time staff right to increase contracted hours by the additional hours worked over past 6 months;
- New hours to casual or part-time employees before new appointments;
- Better redundancy notice and pay;
- Annual leave to be granted where 4 week’s notice is given to employer;
- Paid leave and protections for all employees experiencing domestic or family violence
- No term which is inferior in any way to an equivalent Award term;
- No diminution in any beneficial term of the 2011 or 2014 agreements;
- Paid rest breaks for all four hour shifts;
- Paid breaks were shifts are split to avoid breaks;
- Breaks at times requested by workers unless unreasonable;
- Disputes to be resolved by the Fair Work Commission where needed;
- That the employer will take all necessary steps to maintain a healthy and safe workplace;
Union & Industrial Rights
- All workers to have the choice of appointing a representative of their choice for any process under the agreement;
- Any rights afforded to members of SDA to be afforded to members of RAFFWU;
- A joint consultative committee to consider and consult over the implementation of the agreement.