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Coles Supermarkets Enterprise Agreement 2017: Understanding the Basics

Coles Supermarkets is one of the largest grocery chains in Australia, with over 800 stores across the country. In 2017, the company entered a new enterprise agreement that governs the employment conditions of its workers. This agreement, known as the Coles Supermarkets Enterprise Agreement 2017, has been a subject of much discussion in recent years.

What is an Enterprise Agreement?

An enterprise agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of employment for workers in a particular industry or business. In Australia, enterprise agreements are negotiated between employers and employees, or their representatives, and must be approved by the Fair Work Commission.

The Coles Supermarkets Enterprise Agreement 2017

The Coles Supermarkets Enterprise Agreement 2017 was negotiated between Coles Supermarkets and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees` Association (SDA). The agreement covers over 80,000 Coles employees, including those working in stores, distribution centres, and support offices.

Some of the key provisions of the agreement include:

– Wage increases: The agreement provides for annual wage increases of between 2.5% and 3.5% over the life of the agreement, which is four years.

– Penalty rates: Coles employees are entitled to penalty rates for working on weekends and public holidays.

– Rostering: Coles must provide employees with their roster at least seven days in advance, and employees have the right to refuse a shift that falls outside of their availability.

– Leave entitlements: Coles employees receive four weeks of paid annual leave and up to 10 days of paid personal/carer`s leave per year.

– Job security: The agreement contains provisions aimed at protecting employees` job security, including restrictions on the use of labour hire and casual workers.

Controversy Surrounding the Agreement

The Coles Supermarkets Enterprise Agreement 2017 has been the subject of controversy and criticism from some quarters. One of the main criticisms is that the agreement leaves many workers worse off than they would be under the general retail award.

For example, the agreement allows Coles to pay some workers lower rates of pay if they agree to trade off certain entitlements, such as penalty rates. Critics argue that this creates a two-tiered system where some workers are disadvantaged.

In 2019, the Fair Work Commission rejected a proposed new enterprise agreement that would have covered Coles employees, citing concerns about the lower rates of pay and trading off of entitlements. Coles subsequently withdrew its application and is currently negotiating a new agreement with the SDA.

Conclusion

The Coles Supermarkets Enterprise Agreement 2017 is an important document that governs the employment conditions of tens of thousands of Coles workers across Australia. While the agreement contains some important protections for workers, it has also been the subject of controversy and criticism. As negotiations for a new agreement continue, it remains to be seen how Coles will balance the interests of its employees with those of the company.

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