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SA retail workers union makes deal to cut penalty rates

In South Australia, the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) union and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business SA have struck a deal to abolish some penalty rates in return for higher base rates of pay and other conditions, reports the ABC.

Under the voluntary deal, which took nine months to negotiate, workers will be offered ‘significantly higher’ base rates of pay, a guaranteed annual pay rise of three per cent, and improved rostering and shift breaks. In return, Saturday and weekday evening penalty rates will be abolished and Sunday rates will be reduced from 100 per cent loading to 50 per cent. Public holiday rates will also be reduced from 150 per cent loading to 100 per cent.

As part of the deal, permanent staff will also have a right to regular weekends off and a choice about working Sundays or public holidays.

SDA official Peter Malinauskas said the deal ‘gives individual enterprises and their employees a choice, which they’ve always had under the Fair Work Act but this one that has been endorsed by the state’s largest union and the state’s largest chamber of commerce so we think it’s a positive step forward’. He added, ‘Time will tell if employers and employees decide to take this up.’

Business SA CEO Nigel McBride said the deal spread employment costs more evenly across the week. ‘The current system is not providing what is needed and this is evidenced by high business closures and unemployment,’ said McBride. ‘We believe there should be an overhaul of penalty rates completely [but] this is something that we can do in the meantime.’

The template enterprise agreement signed by SDA and Business SA can be adopted by small and medium-sized businesses if agreed to by employees.


Category: Local news