The kmart agreement, which the Commission rejected earlier this month, stated that employees had to transfer their superannuation payments to REST. Kmart`s decision prompted large companies to reconsider how they will approach standard superannuation in enterprise agreements, while the government has announced that it will re-examine the problem. Mr. Boyce gave no reason to accept Big W`s approval and said he would publish his argument “in due course.” The proposed agreement will not have any lags that, until now, allowed two teams to work in one day with less than ten hours break between stations. Now there must be a 12-hour break (or 10 hours by appointment) between the conclusion of a position and the start of the next position. This means that, in some stores, the current practice of using splitting layers is no longer permitted. The agreement stipulates that Big W employees can name their preferred supernuation fund, but if they don`t, the default fund would be the remaining industrial fund. Two months after the workers accepted the agreement, Big W announced that it would close 30 branches, with Mr. Cullinan believing that the retailer had hidden important details from the workers and that the agreement was therefore not “authentic”. The clause in Big W`s 2012 EBA prevented workers from being forcibly dismissed when branches were closed. It was withdrawn by the department store in the new agreement, which approved 92 percent of workers in March.
“With the support of [Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees` Association] and [Australian Workers` Union], we have presented an agreement that provides better terms for our team while supporting the continuation of our company`s trend reversal,” said a Big W spokesperson. The Fair Work Commission has approved the new enterprise agreement for the Big W discount department store, which will have about 16,000 employees across Australia. “More than 90% of the electorate supported the proposal, and we look forward to quickly offering our members the benefits of the new agreement.” A Big W spokesperson said the company was pleased that the FWC had accepted the agreement and said it “presented improved conditions for our team while supporting the continued rotation of our business.” A recommendation from the Productivity Committee in January prompted the government to introduce new legislation to eliminate default funds in bonuses and enterprise agreements. The agreement will enter into force seven days after approval and has a nominal expiry date of May 5, 2022. “[Kmart`s agreement] is limited to the election of the super-starvation fund that would otherwise exist under price is a less advantageous mandate,” said Vice-President Amanda Mansini at the time. Gerard Boyce, vice-president of the FWC, gave the green light to the agreement, which will also offer annual wage increases to Big W employees, better penalty interest, home and family vacations and an entrenched occasional conversion clause. The new agreement provides for above-average wages and conditions, with annual wage increases, penalties, increased casual charges, the choice of superannuation providers and increased rights to severance pay. Under the new enterprise agreement, Big W employees will be paid between $21.51 and $23.12 per hour, depending on their seniority.
Big W`s old enterprise contract was launched in 2012 and expired in 2015. The Commission rejected Kmart`s decision and stated that, overall, staff would be in a less favourable position, not least because the super-contributions had to be paid into REST, a fund supported by the retail union SDA, which was negotiating the agreements with Kmart and Big W.