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Coles Agreement Breaks

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Coles Agreement Breaks: What You Need to Know

If you work or shop at Coles, you may have heard of the recent controversy over the company`s allegedly widespread violations of workplace laws. The Coles Agreement, a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that covers about 80,000 employees in Australia, has been under scrutiny by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and the media for several years. The latest development in this saga is the admission by Coles that it has underpaid some of its workers by more than $20 million over the past six years.

What are the Coles Agreement breaks and how did they happen? What are the implications for Coles, its employees, and its customers? How can you avoid being affected by this issue? Let`s explore these questions and more.

What is the Coles Agreement?

The Coles Agreement is a legally binding agreement between Coles and the National Union of Workers (NUW) that sets out the terms and conditions of employment for Coles workers, including wages, hours, benefits, and other entitlements. The current version of the agreement, known as the Coles Supermarkets Agreement 2017 (CSA), was approved by the FWC in June 2018 and expires in April 2020. The CSA replaced the previous agreement, which expired in 2014.

What are the Coles Agreement breaks?

The Coles Agreement breaks refer to the alleged breaches of the CSA by Coles, particularly in relation to the payment of overtime, penalty rates, and allowances to some of its workers. The NUW has been raising concerns about these issues since at least 2014 and has filed several disputes and applications with the FWC to seek resolution. In 2015, the FWC found that some provisions of the previous Coles agreement were not compliant with the Fair Work Act, but allowed the agreement to continue on the condition that Coles rectify the issues by renegotiating the agreement with the NUW.

However, the NUW claimed that Coles did not make enough effort to address the problems and instead continued to rely on flawed practices that resulted in underpayment of workers. In late 2019, the NUW launched a class action against Coles on behalf of current and former workers who were affected by the alleged underpayments. The case is still ongoing and may take years to resolve.

What has Coles admitted to?

On February 6, 2020, Coles released a statement acknowledging that it had identified “issues with the application of the relevant industrial award to some salaried team members” and had “not paid some team members their full entitlements” under the CSA. Coles estimated that the total amount of underpayments for salaried employees was about $20 million, or an average of $1500 per person per year. Coles also said that it would “promptly” rectify the underpayments and implement new processes to ensure compliance with the award.

What are the implications of the Coles Agreement breaks?

The Coles Agreement breaks have significant implications for Coles, its employees, and its customers. Coles may face penalties, fines, reputational damage, and legal costs as a result of the alleged breaches of the CSA. Coles may also have to pay back a substantial amount of money to its affected workers, which could impact its financial performance and shareholder returns. Coles may also have to negotiate a new agreement with the NUW, which may lead to changes in the terms and conditions of employment for its workers.

For the affected workers, the Coles Agreement breaks may mean that they have missed out on significant amounts of pay that they are entitled to under the award. Some workers may have to provide evidence of their hours of work and other entitlements to claim their underpayments. Some workers may also face uncertainty or anxiety about their job security, especially if Coles decides to restructure or cut costs in response to the financial impact of the issue.

For the customers, the Coles Agreement breaks may mean that they have to pay more for their groceries or experience longer queues and wait times if Coles reduces its staff levels or hours of operation to offset the financial impact of the issue. Some customers may also decide to switch to other supermarkets or online retailers if they lose trust in Coles as a responsible employer or retailer.

How can you avoid being affected by the Coles Agreement breaks?

If you work at Coles, you should check your pay and entitlements to ensure that you are being paid correctly under the award. You can do this by reviewing your pay slip, rosters, and other records of your hours of work and duties. You can also contact your union or the FWC for advice and support if you think that you have been underpaid. You should keep records of any underpayments or disputes with your employer for future reference.

If you shop at Coles, you should continue to compare prices and quality with other retailers and consider your options if you are not satisfied with the value or service that Coles offers. You should also support the workers who have been affected by the Coles Agreement breaks and demand that Coles takes responsibility for its actions and makes amends.

In conclusion, the Coles Agreement breaks are a serious issue that affects many people in different ways. It highlights the importance of fair and transparent workplace laws and practices, and the need for vigilance and action by workers, unions, regulators, and customers to ensure that employers comply with their obligations and respect their workforce.

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