Thursday, May 30, 2024

Small business calls for action against SDA and Coles

The CEO of Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) has called for the ACTU to expel the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) as a member.

The call follows the Fair Work Commission’s ruling that Coles left workers worse off as a result of the retailer’s and SDA’s bargaining agreements.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said the Commission’s findings showed that the system worked, but COSBOA CEO Peter Strong disagreed, saying the fact this had been occurring for at least three years showed a systemic failure.

“ACTU need to expel the SDA from their membership,” Mr Strong said. “The SDA still has on its website a call to arms for people to fight against lower penalty rates, while they have up to 100 agreements with the biggest businesses in Australia to actually have lower penalty rates and, in some situations, remove them altogether. The hypocrisy and duplicity of the SDA is breathtaking.”

COSBOA has called on the Commission to deregister the SDA for “proven treachery”.

“How did so many illegitimate enterprise agreements get approved by the Fair Work Commission?” Mr Strong said. “The Australian Labor Party, the Greens and others have campaigns against high penalty rates falsely influenced by a campaign run by the SDA – a campaign that misrepresented the facts and forced thousands of workers into low-paid jobs while forcing many small businesses to close.”

Mr Strong also called on the ALP to admit that small business had been disadvantaged by this campaign, while big businesses had benefited.

“How can the ALP support a campaign that in the end targeted the likes of newsagents, coffee shops, bookshops, pharmacies, gift shops and small restaurants?” he said.

“These businesses are not just the backbone of the economy, but also of our culture. In the end, the only businesses that paid double time on a Sunday were small businesses. All the big businesses had a deal with the SDA that paid under-award rates.”

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