Big win for Kmart workers as union appeal successful

Media statement | 12 November 2019

More than 32,000 Kmart workers across the country are a big step closer to receiving the improved pay and conditions they deserve after the SDA’s appeal against the Fair Work Commission’s recent disappointing decision not to approve the Kmart Agreement was successful.

The SDA – the union for retail, fast-food and warehouse workers – appealed the Fair Work Commission’s recent shocking rejection of the Kmart agreement, which was made on technical grounds. On Monday, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission upheld the SDA’s appeal.

SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said that almost 12 months after employees voted overwhelmingly in favour the agreement is now just one step away from official approval.

“The ruling is great news for Kmart workers at the country’s around 230 stores,” said Mr Dwyer.

“This agreement delivers on the things workers have made clear matter to them, such as regular pay increases for all employees and the protection of hard-won conditions.”

“We applaud the comment in the judgment that: ‘Financial modelling undertaken by the Commission’s staff (which was before the Deputy President) demonstrates that the pay of employees under the Agreement will be more than under the Award on any pattern of hours that may be worked’.’”

“This a ringing endorsement of SDA’s case presented to the Fair Work Commission,” said Mr Dwyer.

“The agreement strikes the right balance between shifting to a penalty rates structure which reflects full Award penalties while protecting existing Kmart workers’ higher wages and delivering pay rises for all.”

“We’re particularly pleased that the agreement locks in two days paid domestic violence leave with additional access to unpaid leave when requested.”

“Importantly, this new agreement maintains hard won above award conditions such as superior rostering provisions, voluntary work on public holidays, additional public holidays and picnic days in certain states, as well as securing better leave provisions.”

“This agreement has been a long time coming, but it’s fantastic to know that after some unfortunate delays, Kmart workers are now a big step closer to being able to enjoy the benefits they deserve.”

“We are pleased that the decision provides flexibility in superannuation arrangements, providing flexibility for those employees who wish to opt out of the default fund in line with standard SDA agreements,” Mr Dwyer said.

Once the new Agreement comes into effect the new rates of pay will apply, including new penalty rates. Kmart employees will also be entitled to backpay to 1 July 2019

Media contact: Alana Mew, 0419 929 722

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