The SDA is the only union for workers in the retail and fast food industry. It is registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act and has all the rights of a registered trade union. The SDA is the only union recognised by the top trade union body in Australia – the Australian Council of Trade Unions – as representing retail and fast food workers.
The SDA has spent the past two years in the Fair Work Commission defending Sunday and public holiday penalty rates from an attack by employers. No one else has been in there defending your penalty rates.
The SDA has spent over $2 million in the 2012 and 2014 cases in the Commission defending the penalty rates of SDA members.
Unfortunately, the Commission ruled in favour of the employers and decided to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates. The SDA and United Voice, the other union affected, decided to challenge this in the Federal Court of Australia as a last effort to stop the cuts.
Although we were unsuccessful we will continue the campaign to stop the cuts by legislation in the Australian Parliament.
In 2013 the SDA ran a major test case in the Fair Work Commission against strident employer opposition to win adult rates of pay at 20 years of age in the retail industry as the first step to adult rates of pay at 18 years of age. No one else has been in there arguing for improvements in junior rates.
The SDA has campaigned successfully to win Easter Sunday as a public holiday for weekend workers.
The SDA has campaigned successfully to win Christmas Day as a public holiday for weekend workers last year (2016).
The SDA in cooperation with Maurice Blackburn solicitors has been assisting workers who have been exploited at 7 Eleven. We have made claims for 33 workers worth $2 million.
The SDA successfully lobbied against the Federal Government’s Paid Parental Leave bill which would have stripped away thousands of dollars worth of paid leave from retail and fast food workers.
The SDA has argued a case in the Fair Work Commission for the right to a day in lieu or a day’s pay when a public holiday falls on a non working day. For example, under awards as they stand, a Tuesday to Saturday worker misses out on all Monday public holidays. That’s not fair. We want to fix that. We are awaiting a decision on the SDA’s case.
The SDA is preparing for major argument in the Fair Work Commission in late 2017 and early 2018 to defend our awards from employer attacks and improve our awards in the current award review.
The SDA is working hard to get employers back to the bargaining table to negotiate new enterprise agreements with regular wage increases. We have made a break through with a new in principle enterprise agreement at Coles and other companies are starting to follow.
We also deal with 15,000 – 20,000 member queries over the phone per year and have 3 full time Information Officers on the phones to assist members.
We have 3 WorkCover Officers to give specialist advice on WorkCover matters and to assist many members through the complex WorkCover system to receive the best benefits available to them under the law. We represent up to 200 members at the WorkCover Conciliation Service per year to get WorkCover benefits for them which have been refused by the insurer.
The SDA in Victoria has four Industrial Officers involved in negotiating enterprise agreements for members and arguing to protect and improve award wages and conditions. They also represent members in the Commission in unfair dismissal matters and other unfair treatment matters.
The SDA has a range of other services for members including accident insurance coverage up to $78,000 for death and total disablement for every hour outside working hours where it is caused by violent, external, visible means. Sadly we need to pay out a number of these claims on behalf of members.
It is worth it to belong to the SDA. It gives you the security of being a member of the only union which can represent the interests of retail and fast food workers.