Wage costs are rising at Coles and Woolworths after new enterprise agreements. Louie Douvis “We are pleased to have better salaries and conditions for our subsidiary team members with the new enterprise agreement,” the spokesperson said. Next year, new agreements will also be reached with Target, Woolworths` BWS and Dan Murphy, Coles Liquor and Express, as well as Officeworks. In January, the Fair Work Commission approved a new enterprise agreement for Woolworths for approximately 110,000 employees. Like the new Coles agreement, passed in 2018, it increases weekend and evening rates while preserving higher base rates for existing workers. The number of occasional charges will increase from 20 per cent to 25 per cent full, and junior rates, overtime, shift work rates and uniform allowances will increase at the premium level. This month, Bunnings employees adopted a new agreement that improves penalty interest rates, jails wage increases, increases minimum wage rates by $25 a week or between 2.5 and 2.7% and reforms the working tables. Last week, Anthony Heraghty, CEO of The Super Retail Group, revealed that a new enterprise agreement for about 10,000 employees would increase wages by 5.8 percent in 2020 and 2.9 percent in 2021 and 2022. Store employees will feel the consequences of new wage agreements, which cost between $10 million and $200 million a year, as retailers minimize their effects by strengthening schedules, automation and process simplification.
Analysts say retailers are trying to minimize the impact of new agreements through various means, including automation, memory simplification programs and strengthening of working tables, but they will struggle to offset the overall increase in the first year, resulting in a cost-price scissor. Kmart and Big W are awaiting approval from the Fair Work Commission for new agreements that will restore all penalty interest, occasional charge and other conditions that have been removed from previous agreements and maintain base rates for existing staff. Most retailers have refused to mention the increase in labour costs as a result of new wage agreements, but union officials estimate that the new EBAs will increase Woolworths` payroll to $200 million a year in supermarkets, schools` by $100 million and Big W, Kmart and Bunnings by “$10 million” a year.