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Important Woolworths Agreement Update

Elizabeth, Woolworths worker, says she'll be voting yes on the new Agreement because

"I support the new Agreement. I work a real mix of hours, during the day, weeknights and the odd early morning. I like that my higher day rates are still protected, but with the new penalty rates I also get paid more when I’m working late or starting early. Add to that the new laundry allowance too. Lots of things we have fought for over the years are in the new Agreement like our extra sick leave, longer tea breaks, better roster provisions, all our extra leave entitlements and some new things too. Whether it’s day time, night time or early mornings I’m better off on the new Agreement. That’s why I’m voting Yes."

 

For the proposed new Woolworths Agreement to come into effect it has to be voted on with a majority Yes vote. It’s important that you have a say.

If you want the new Agreement with:

  • higher rates of pay for every hour of every day compared to the Award
  • new and increased penalty rates on nights and weekends
  • protecting existing employees higher week day rates
  • pay rises every year on 1 July
  • keeping hard won SDA conditions

then you need to vote Yes.

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1. Voting Information

When can you vote?

Voting will open on Thursday 11 October 2018 and

Voting will close on Monday 22 October 2018.

How can you vote?

Voting is online by a confidential online vote. You will need your payroll ID and your date of birth to gain access to the vote. The vote is being run by an independent group called VoteCorp at www.eavote.com.au. We will send members a link to the online voting site when the ballot opens.

Do I have to vote?

If you want the new Agreement to be passed you need to vote. The new Agreement can only come into effect if a majority of Woolworths employees vote for it. It is very important that you vote.

2. Check your pay with SDA Pay Calculator

If you want to know how much your pay will change under the proposed new Woolworths Agreement use our pay calculator.

Enter your hours of work into our pay calculator for an estimate of your change in pay under the proposed new Agreement. Remember your pay packet will be increased by four things:

  1. regular pay rises every 1 July;
  2. higher weekday pay rates protected for existing employees;
  3. new and increased penalty rates on weeknights and weekends;
  4. new laundry allowance payable for everyone in uniform or preferred dress who launders it at home.

Check your new EBA pay here

3. FAQ's

a)  SDA win on higher casual penalty rates will be in new Woolworths Agreement

The SDA has won a case in the Fair Work Commission to increase penalty rates for casuals so that they are the same as the penalty rates for full-time and part-time employees. The increases will be phased in.

The SDA negotiated with Woolworths that if we won this case the increase to casual penalty rates would flow into the new Woolworths Agreement too.

This means the combined casual loadings and penalty rates for casuals on weeknights and Saturday will increase in new Woolworths Agreement in  the following way:

All other casual penalty rates for existing employees are as per the SDA summary document.
 

b)  Employee payments up to $1,100. How does it work?

Unfortunately there is some misinformation circulating online about the employee payments negotiated by the SDA of up to $1,100. Here are the facts.

The SDA argued during negotiations for a “sign on bonus” for team members when a new Agreement was concluded. Because it has been over 2 years since the last wage increase it was important for the SDA to secure a payment for employees who have worked through that period.

The SDA accepted as settlement of this claim two separate payments for eligible team members:

            (1)      The Wish Gift card payment (tax free) will be paid by 20 December 2018.

            (2)      The cash payment will be made within 14 days of the Agreement being approved by the Fair Work Commission.

  • Each bonus will be paid to those eligible team members where still employed by Woolworths at the payment date of each bonus (ie 20 December 2018 for (1) and 14 days after the Agreement is approved by FWC for (2)).
  • Woolworths have reserved the right to pay either bonus earlier than the date above if possible.
  • The payment will be made as a combination of Wish Gift Cards and cash, depending on the amount.

The table below sets out who is eligible, the total amount and the combination of Wish Card and cash:

*Average Hours is based on actual hours worked in May, June and July 2018.

The SDA has raised questions on behalf of members about how the average hours worked will be calculated for members on paid leave, unpaid leave, parental leave and workers compensation to ensure a fair result. We will have an update with the company's responses soon.

 

c) Will I get paid a laundry allowance if I’m wearing preferred dress?

Yes, Woolworths will pay a laundry allowance to all employees who wear a uniform or preferred dress and launder it at home. The only employees under the Agreement this will not apply to are those Bakers who have their whole uniform laundered by the company.

Again, there has been some misinformation on line about whether Woolworths will pay supermarket employees a laundry allowance to employees in preferred dress. The vast majority of Woolworths employees wear preferred dress so it was important to the SDA to secure this laundry allowance for all employees who have to wash their preferred dress items at home.

 

d) The laundry allowance is:

Casual / Part-time $1.25 per shift
Full-time $6.25 per week

 

e) When will pay rises and the new penalty rates begin?

For the new penalty rates and new pay rates to begin the Agreement has to first be voted up by employees and then approved by the Fair Work Commission.

If the Agreement vote is Yes and the Agreement is approved by the Fair Work Commission it will begin on the later of either 7 January 2019 or 7 days after the FWC approval.

 

f) What is happening to TOIL for public holidays?

For many years SDA members working at Woolworths have had the benefit of an additional day off when their non-working day fell on a public holiday. This benefit

was won by the SDA when most public holidays fell on a Monday and as trading hours extended a lot of rosters moved to be Tuesday to Saturday or Wednesday to Sunday.

However in recent years the SDA has led the push to have significant public holidays declared on the actual day that they fall, including on weekends. For example in NSW it used to be the case that when Christmas Day and Boxing Day fell on a Saturday and Sunday the public holiday mused to be declared on the following Monday and Tuesday instead.

Now when that happens in NSW the Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are all recognised as public holidays. This made it harder for us when a case was run earlier this year in the Fair Work Commission to put the entitlement to an additional day off when a non-working day falls on a public holiday into the Award.

The case was not successful. As a result of this we have not been able to retain this benefit in the proposed Agreement either. This means that whilst the entitlement to an additional day off when a non-working day falls on a public holiday will apply to public holidays up to and including Christmas Day, Boxing Day this year and New Year’s Day in January next year, it will not apply after that under the proposed new Agreement.

 

f)  Cold work allowances:  New Fridge Allowance and improved Freezer Allowance

The proposed Agreement introduces a new Fridge Allowance. The fridge allowance provides that employees who are principally employed on any day to:

(i)    enter cold chambers; and/or

(ii)   to stock and refill refrigerated storages such as dairy cases or freezer cabinets will be paid a cold work allowance per hour of $0.29 per hour.

(b)  The Freezer Allowance in the proposed Agreement provides that a team member who is required to work in a cold chamber where the temperature is below 0°C, completing designated tasks such as cleaning, defrosting or rearranging stock within a back-of-house freezer room, will be paid the Freezer Allowance of $0.44 per hour AND the Fridge Allowance of $0.29 per hour. That is a total allowance of $0.73 per hour.

 

g) Are there protections against roster changes for nightfill in the new Agreement?

Yes there are protections against roster changes for all team members that have been improved in this proposed Agreement and a particular extra clause for nightworkers if their roster is changed.

Whilst Woolworths can seek to change rosters under the proposed new Agreement they have to first properly consult with any workers who will be affected by the changes. The new Agreement also has the normal protections for all team members that Woolworths have to give you at least 7 days’ notice of a roster change and take into consideration your personal circumstances before they make any changes. They also cannot change a roster to avoid an entitlement under the Agreement.

With your Union’s help you can challenge a roster change too.

After all that if they still change a nightfill or bakery team members roster to reduce the amount of nightwork and that would cause a drop in your pay they have to keep paying you your higher pay for an extra 8 weeks after the roster change.

Have a look at clauses 9.1, 9.2 and 9.3 of the proposed new Agreement.

 

4. What happens if the new proposed Agreement is voted up? What if it is not?

If the new Agreement is voted up it will go to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to be approved. When it is approved it will start either on 7 January 2019 or 7 days after the FWC approve it if that is after 7 January. Then the higher penalty rates for nights and weekends will start, the protected weekday rates will be in place and the ongoing pay rises for all employees on each 1 July will also be locked in. Employees who are eligible will have received the one off payment of Gift Cards on 20th December, employees eligible for the one off cash payment will also receive that payment 14 days after the approval of the Agreement.

 

If the new Agreement is not voted up initially employees would remain on the 2012 Woolworths Agreement that does not provide any more pay rises or have the higher night and weekend penalty rates. Employees would also be at risk of falling back to the Award because an individual employee has applied to terminate the 2012 Woolworths Agreement. If employees fell back to the Award there is no guarantee of any protected pay rates and all of the superior conditions in the Woolworths Agreement could be lost.