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Tasmanian Industrial Commission
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T2401 T2339 T2564 T2807 T2783 (20 December 1990)



Industrial Relations Act 1984
s.23 application to vary an award

Shop Distributive and Allied Employees
Tasmanian Branch

(T Nos 2401 and 2339 of 1990)

Federated Clerks Union of Australia
Tasmanian Branch

(T.2564 of 1990)

National Union of Storeworkers, Packers, Rubber and Allied Workers
Tasmanian Branch

(T.2807 of 1990)

Tasmanian Confederation of Industries
(T.2783 of 1990)




20 December 1990

Wage rates - State Wage November 1989 - Structural Efficiency Principle Second Stage


These matters concern a number of applications which relate to award variations designed to give effect to the second structural efficiency and minimum rates adjustment in accordance with the Wage Fixation Principles.

On 29 June 1990, the President issued an Interim Decision in relation to an application by the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, Tasmanian Branch (the SDAEA) in relation to the same issue, but was not satisfied at that time that a fundamental review had been completed. Accordingly he issued a number of directives in this regard. And in particular he referred to the fact that only qualified undertakings which were dependent upon certain legislative changes affecting trading hours had been given. This is to be found at page 7 and 8 of his decision:

"The special external circumstances applying to the retail industry in Tasmania clearly have prevented the parties from embarking on a fundamental review of the award. So much so that they have only been able to commit themselves to engage in such a review when the trading hours question is settled.

From the Commission's point of view this qualified undertaking is unacceptable. The Wage Fixing Principles envisage the completion of these reviews before the second adjustment is to be made available, although it is noted that there have been some departures from this requirement. In particular, programmes and timetables for the implementation of structural efficiency measures have become acceptable in certain circumstances.

Accordingly, the parties are directed immediately to enter into negotiations for the purpose of conducting a fundamental review of the award, notwithstanding the legislative position in relation to shops' trading hours."

Subsequently similar applications were lodged from other employee organisations and the Tasmanian Confederation of Industries. However added to the applications was a request for the minimum rates adjustment to be applied. All of these matters were joined and referred to this Full Bench and we have received a number of formal reports at different dates.

Progress had been slow and the parties had been unable to reach any total concensus before this time although we were led to believe at one stage they were not far apart on some issues.

Finally we have now been presented with an agreed package of items in relation to which the parties requested a quick response.

The SDAEA is a principal party and Mr Targett indicated to us on behalf of his organisation that even though negotiations had been both protracted and difficult the final position reached was regarded as being consistent with the best interests of his members in the long term.

Two agreed documents were tabled as exhibits S.D.A. 1 and S.D.A. 2.

The first was a memorandum of agreement which specified in summary form the items agreed to in principle. The second exhibit went to the detail of award changes proposed. The latter exhibit was augmented by a similar document provided by the Transport Workers Union of Australia, Tasmanian Branch, but only to the extent that it involved driver classifications.

The proposed changes fall under the following headings: -

1. Minimum Rates Adjustments
2. Spread of Ordinary Hours
3. Penalty Rates
4. Rosters
5. Limitation on Hours
6. Classifications
7. Integrated Award
8. Meal Breaks
9. Mixed Functions
10. Annual Leave
11. Existing Employees

In broad terms the agreement is to grant a minimum rates adjustment to all employees except drivers who are to largely follow the newly created award of this Commission titled the Transport Workers General Award.

These minimum rates adjustments at appropriate intervals commencing from 1 January 1991, are to achieve a bench mark figure of $375.00 for a shop assistant. This agreed figure is consistent with the figure established and recognised by other tribunals.

The parties agree in principle to phase out the classification of 1st and 2nd year shop assistant; employers have indicated a desire to have included a new training rate; and talks are to continue on establishing a new classification structure.

An important change is an extension of the spread of ordinary hours both during the week and on Saturday for the first time.

Saturday may be part of ordinary hours from 7.00 am to 6.30 pm. However penalty payments will be expressed in the future as fixed money amounts and will apply to work performed on Saturdays and during the late night trading hours.

The money amounts determined will not be made the subject of an application to vary until they equate with time and one half on Saturday and time and one quarter for late night trading.

Other changes of particular note involve the introduction of rosters on a store by store basis within a framework prescribed in the award through a consultative mechanism, and a limitation on maximum hours to be worked by individual employees.

Also annual leave payments are to be calculated upon either projected roster during the relevant period or the ordinary rate plus a 17.5% loading, which ever is the higher. The Bench raised a query as to how precisely such an amount would be calculated, particularly where public holidays occur, and the parties may need to further consider this question.

All other union representatives present expressed their support for the package, with individual requirements being put on the record and noted by the other parties.

Mr Abey like Mr Targett urged the Commission to approve the total package which his organization believed represented the most profound and worthwhile change to have ever occured in the Retail arena. His views were supported by Mr Rice for the Retail Traders Association of Tasmania.

In our view the parties have substantially addressed those issues which the President required them to deal with in his 29 June 1990 Interim Decision.

We note the measure of agreement reached is substantial, notwithstanding that on-going negotiations are still needed in relation to some outstanding issues. And we look to the parties to continue their discussions in the new year and bring them to finality as soon as it is practicable. Whilst the parties requested us not to set deadlines for "report backs" to the Commission we believe it is entirely reasonable to expect a resumption of proceedings for this purpose before July, 1991.

Given that the package of agreed matters is designed to rationalise and update the award and will undoubtedly improve efficiency and productivity in the retail industry within Tasmania, we believe it is therefore consistent with the requirements of the relevant principles.

We also accept that such measures as are proposed are consistent with improving the economy of both the industry and the State; and in the best interest of long term employment of employees.

Those matters are in our view not only consistent with the requirements of the Wage Fixing Principles but also meet public interest requirements of the Act.

For these reasons the package as detailed in exhibits and explained on transcript is approved and the award will be varied accordingly.

Date of Effect: Award variations shall have effect from the first full pay period to commence on or after 1 January, 1991.

Order: will follow.


Messers P Targett, P Griffin and P Noonan for the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, Tasmanian Branch.
Messers D Fry and A Grubb for the Federated Clerks Union of Australia, Tasmanian Branch.
Mr B Hansch for the Transport Workers' Union of Australia, Tasmanian Branch.
Mr T Abey with Mr J Hussey for the Tasmanian Confederation of Industries.
Mr K Rice for the Retail Traders Association of Tasmania.
Mr D Adams for the Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia, Tasmanian Branch.
Mr D Strickland for the National Union of Storeworkers, Packers, Rubber and Allied Workers, Tasmanian Branch.

Date and Place of Hearings:
October 3, 16;
November 2, 19;
December 19.