The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union represents members in OTR.
If you are here, we're guessing:
- You feel confident you are being treated unfairly; and
- You probably want to know what can be done about it.
Let us start by addressing point 1. What do we mean by unfair? This points to many things:
- evening and night workers don’t receive any extra pay despite the extra sacrifice.
- weekend workers get little more than a daytime weekday worker despite the extra sacrifice.
- workers have to work through meal breaks without being paid.
- workers are required to stay back past rostered finish times without being paid.
- workers are pressured into not taking sick leave.
As many stores as there are in OTR there are probably many more issues. All of this adds up to a situation that is completely unacceptable and unfair on workers both present and those who may become subject to this treatment in the future if nothing is done. This is not the first-time workers have been treated like this, but just like every other time, it can be stopped, and for the sake of not just present workers but future workers as well this should be stopped now.
So, what is causing this? Issues around pay and the loss of many conditions are caused by an old zombie or legacy agreement that the owners of OTR are using. It was created around 2007 and has never been replaced. There were very different laws back then which allowed employers to get away with shredding worker’s wages and conditions, almost as they saw fit. And it’s because this old agreement has never been challenged that it is still there. It’s never been challenged, in part, because workers rarely know that this is even happening. But the wheels of change have already started and as more workers get involved, we know we can help make OTR a better place to work. This means a fairer workplace that you and future workers will benefit from and the community will be happy with.
So now let us address point 2, what can we do about it. The agreement is so old and has long since passed its expiry date. There is an option available to workers to apply to have the old agreement "terminated". This would see the introduction of many positive changes coming with the return of the Award that applies to petrol stations such as OTR. Termination of the agreement will be difficult and require a great deal of work for workers to have the best chance of success. This is why it is important for workers to come together and pool your resources and influence through your union. With support, workers can achieve an outcome that will benefit the vast majority of workers in OTR.
The return of the Award will see:
- part-time employees have job security and predictable hours with a requirement that the days and times you work cannot change on a weekly basis without your genuine agreement.
- The return of the Award will see part-time workers on shifts starting
- after noon and up to four in the afternoon receive an extra eighteen percent,
- after six in the evening up to four the next morning receiving an extra thirty percent, and,
- after noon on Saturday up to midnight on Sunday there would be an extra fifty percent on the Award base rate of pay (see pay charts below).
- Breaks will either be actual breaks from work or you will be paid for not taking them.
- If you are required to launder a uniform with the company logo you will be paid an allowance for this.
This might all seem too good, too unrealistic, but this is all the minimum, many other workers in petrol stations around Australia are already enjoying these conditions and more. You and your colleagues as well as those who come after you deserve no less. This is not easy, if it were it would have been done already. But it can be done, it has already been done in other workplaces and now it is your turn to see a return of fairness.
If you believe workers should no longer be paid below the minimum wage and that workers (and their families) who are saving for a home or are struggling to pay bills deserve a fair income, then join your union. Together let us fight for a better life.
Join. Fight. Win.