The retail union has accused ASX-listed retailer Noni B Group of delivering unsafe working conditions and understaffing stores to the point they are being left unattended, just as the company is reportedly negotiating a new EBA.
In a press statement issued on Sunday (24 March), the SDA — the trade union covering retail, fast food and warehousing workers — claimed that it had received “numerous” complaints from Noni B employees.
“The SDA has received numerous complaints from a range of employees regarding multiple work practices that fall short of good industrial standards or breach workplace regulations,” the union’s national secretary, Gerard Dwyer, said, noting that the union has “a number of matters with Noni B before the Fair Work Commission.
“These practices have included setting out to unilaterally cut hours for part-time workers by 20 per cent without proper consultation and understaffing stores which has placed excessive sales demands and work tasks on remaining retail staff.
“In some cases, this deliberate understaffing meant retail employees were at times left in stores alone and could not take toilet breaks or were forced to lift heavy boxes and work up ladders in an unsafe manner.”
Mr Dwyer added: “The lack of staff has also resulted in masses of stock remaining unprocessed and being stacked in change rooms and blocking fire escapes, clearly in breach of WHS laws.
“Noni B has also attempted to force managers to sign ‘individual contracts’ which do not include any pay rises and barely cover award entitlements, potentially leaving managers worse off when compared with the award depending on their rosters.”
He concluded by calling on Noni B to “clean up its act and to adhere to good workplace practices for its retail staff”.
The retailer is understood to be in the midst of negotiating a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) with the union.
Noni B Group has been approached for comment.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.