Coles and SDA work together to take $15,000 from meat worker’s pockets

The Shop and Distributive Allied Employees Association (SDA) is reeling this week after an explosive admission from within that they knew some of the retail workers they claim to ‘represent’ would be worse off under a new agreement with Coles.

Meat workers union representatives, and rank-and-file members from around Australia, attended a Fair Work Commission hearing last Tuesday to add their voices to the chorus calling for this unfair deal to be canned.

Under the proposed new agreement, which is currently being challenged by the AMIEU at the Fair Work Commission, some Coles workers would see their take-home wages slashed by up to $15,000 a year.

At a FWC hearing last week, the SDA was forced to admit under cross-examination that they deliberately kept Coles workers in the dark about the changes to the agreement so that employees would not notice they were now being paid less than the award rate.

Lies, misdirection and shonky ‘research’

The SDA has been under fire since last year over this cosy back-room deal with their long-term partners at Coles, which slashes night and weekend penalty rates for their workforce.

Coles and the SDA have worked hand-in-hand at every turn on this exploitative deal – from making up laughably fake ‘example rosters’ when trying to justify their penalty cuts, to heavily campaigning in-stores and pressuring their workers to vote ‘Yes’.

Coles’ own lawyers even, amazingly, tried to prevent employees from fighting against the new deal because it would cost the massive corporation too much money to make changes. And now, last week’s FWC hearing revealed that large sections of the SDA’s reports used to justify the agreement were copied-and-pasted wholesale from third party sources.

A flustered Ernst & Young witness blamed “researchers” for the error, but no amount of blame-shifting can hide the truth: the SDA’s agreement is designed to maximise the profits of their friends at Coles while slashing the take-home pay of the hard-working folks on the ground whose rights they are supposed to be fighting for.

Working for you

The AMIEU has been fighting for this exploitative, unfair deal to be overturned. Thousands of our meat workers are going to be hit hard by the SDA’s betrayal, and we’re not taking it lying down.

We are one of the applicants to a full-bench hearing lodged with the FWC and are scheduled to be heard on February 29th in Melbourne. All meat workers are encouraged to attend.

Grant Courtney, secretary of the AMIEU’s Newcastle and Northern Branch, called the SDA deal “the worst I’ve seen in 30 years”.

“Some of our members are going to be taking home $150 less each week once the SDA has finished screwing them over. Others are going to be even worse off – in some cases up to 8% less than the award.”

“The SDA should be ashamed.”