FWC gives new Coles deal a tick

Coles12The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has signed off on Coles’ new enterprise agreement, bringing an end to a three-year fight over the pay and conditions of more than 80,000 workers.

FWC deputy president Val Gostencnik yesterday approved the contentious agreement after workers voted in favor of the deal in February.

Coles was forced to draft a new enterprise agreement after its 2014 deal with the SDA was found by the full bench of the FWC to have failed the Better Off Overall Test.

SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer said the new agreement was an “excellent outcome for Coles workers” that would deliver a pay rise for all workers and improved penalty rates.

“With wage growth at historic lows across Australia, we’re pleased this new agreement has been approved and will deliver a July increase to Coles workers and pay rises for all over the life of the agreement,” he said.

Coles said in a statement that the two year agreement is a “great outcome” for its team members.

“We believe the agreement is a great outcome for our team members, provides certainty for the future and allows us to continue delivering great service, quality and value to our customers,” it said.

The agreement delivers higher wage rates than the Award and locks in conditions such as voluntary work on public holidays and flexible rostering provisions. Casual employees will also have the right to request to convert to full or part time work if they have worked a pattern of hours over a twelve-month period, subject to conditions.

Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) John Cullinan had opposed the agreement, arguing that it traded away too many conditions, but nevertheless said its approval was a step in the right direction for Coles workers.

“It’s taken three years but now we’re there … a landmark new agreement, the first major agreement in retail that restores penalty rates, shift rates, casual loadings and other conditions,” Cullinan said. “We fought every step of the way, even over the last few weeks we were still fighting to get the best deal.”

RAFFWU said that the new deal will deliver many workers with a 20 per cent increase in pay.

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