The supermarket giant is not passing on more than 100,000 employees this year, despite strong revenue growth, wage increases for company agreements, after cited the decision of the minimum wage body to postpone until February 1 a 1.75% wage increase for retail and other hard-hit sectors. The company, which is expected to announce more than a billion dollars in profits on Thursday, had linked the quantum of its annual wage increases in its company agreement to the increase in minimum wages. Company agreements are agreements concluded at company level which lay down the minimum working conditions applicable to a group of workers and to an employer. While the minimum wage traditionally covers employers for industry rewards, many retail and fast food giants link their annual wage increases to the decision rather than setting fixed increases. The SDA argues that the Woolworths agreement only requires it to accept the minimum wage rate of increase, not the effective date for retail trade. The retail and fast food union`s analysis shows that, as part of its submission to the Fair Work Commission in 2012, Woolworths changed the rosters they used compared to those in the previous agreement in 2009. Had they stayed on the 2009 rosters, nine of the 15 workers in Woolworth`s own examples would have been underpaid. Woolworths argues that the clause is unclear and has requested that its agreement within the Commission be amended so that it is in line with what it claims, were the intentions of the parties during the negotiations. Coles doesn`t have to pay for a staff increase this year, since his deal has expired, but a spokesman said he was considering a discretionary increase. “The variations we are aiming for through the FWC will clarify the intention of the parties concerned during the negotiations and the subsequent development of these agreements. To obtain approval for an agreement, employers must provide the Fair Work Commission with indicative rosters that show people`s hours of work and compare premium rates to what they would receive under the agreement. The employer and the union also sign a legal declaration. However, the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees` Association (SDA) has claimed that the company is not meeting its contractual obligations and this week filed an urgent complaint from the Federal Court regarding additional payment and penalties.
The supermarket agreement states that wage increases in the first wage package will take effect on or after July 1 and that the increase “should be equal to the percentage increase ordered by the Fair Work Commission`s annual wage decision with effect from July.” It argued, however, that its agreement was unclear as to whether it will have to pay the increases when it takes effect for the retail premium, which is postponed to February 1 this year due to the COVID-19 crisis. Company agreements are based on the minimum conditions of the Modern Awards and/or vary. Modern awards are a safety net of minimum conditions for an entire industry or job, for example the General Retail Industry Award 2010 applies to retail. If a job has a company agreement, the modern price does not apply. Company agreements and bonuses apply in conjunction with National Employment Standards (“NES”). The NES applies to all employees (with the exception of staff of the Land Government and municipal councils) and they cannot be superseded by an arbitration award or agreement. A spokesman for Woolworths` rival Coles, who doesn`t have to pay a raise since his deal has expired, said the company was considering a discretionary salary increase for its staff this year. A spokesman for Woolworths did not respond directly to questions about the rosters, but said they were indicative. . .