could end up forking out pay rises for thousands of its workers if a demand from one of the country’s biggest unions for a five per cent raise succeeds.
The Australian Financial Review
reported that the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association, which represents about 80,000 Coles workers, is demanding the rise, which is above the three per cent minimum wage lift.
A Coles spokesman told the Sydney Morning Herald
that the company was looking forward to discussions with the unions, but he would not comment on the pay rise claims.
"We will continue to work towards an agreement which includes a satisfactory pay increase for team members based on the overall package and the proposed flexibility improvements.”
However, the move has prompted some opposition.
Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman told the Herald
that agreements with big employers set a precedent for union claims at other organisations and small to medium retailers would not be able to match a five per cent increase.
Coles is also reportedly pushing to combine six different enterprise agreements into one deal that would cover all the workers in its retail outlets, which has met with opposition from the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union and the Transport Workers Union.
A Coles spokesman said that the organisation needed a “simpler agreement” which would bring all the supermarkets in line and would cut out the complexity caused by operating six different agreements.