United Voice members at Spotless sites across Adelaide have recently won a new Enterprise Agreement, after three long years of bargaining negotiations.
During this time Spotless sought to cut many of members’ entitlements, such as penalty rates and allowances.
During this difficult time, members worked to dramatically increase their membership strength, and stayed actively involved throughout the process.
There was also an issue with shift penalty rates, where Spotless first argued that workers weren’t entitled to them – then after admitting their error, said they would not backpay workers their entitlements.
United Voice Delegate Ben Winkler acted as a bargaining representative for members at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
“Everything came to a head when they threatened not to backpay workers for the unpaid 30% shift penalty rate which they had failed to pay us.
“When that happened, all the union members stood up and said, enough. We told them that we expected Spotless to pay the money we were entitled to, and to bargain in good faith.”
“All the union members stood strong, and put their support behind the United Voice bargaining team.
“When we held meetings of members, so many showed up that we needed a lecture theatre to hold them all!
“It was a real show of strength, and after that negotiations changed. It brought Spotless back to the bargaining table, and we were able to negotiate a fair Agreement.”
In January, the ballot to approve the new Agreement was put to a vote: and returned an overwhelming 98.3% YES vote.
This was a fantastic result, with an impressive 824 employees participating in the ballot process.
The new Agreement includes:
- Wage parity with the public sector to be maintained for the life of the Agreement
- 3% wage increase each year
- 11 days personal leave per year
- Maintaining all current penalty rates and allowances
- Maintaining the clause for casual conversion
“Our win really shows the power workers have when they stand together as union members.”
The Agreement is currently before the Fair Work Commission for approval.