Big W Face Massive Wage Hike
Embattled discount retailer Big W is on track to foot the bill for a large wage spike as it reached a new enterprise agreement for the first time in seven years.
According to The AFR, the new deal, which replaces the long-expired 2012 agreement, provides its employees with a 1.5 per cent wage increase plus a discretionary 2% increase from December 2019.
92% of the 17,000 workers who took part in the ballot voted in favour of the wage increase, to restore penalty rates and casual loadings and to raise redundancy pay.
Saturday penalty rates are set to soar 150 per cent under the new agreement — previously reduced to zero — and Sunday and evening rates will rise to award level.
Casual workers, which make up a large section of Big W’s workforce, and paid well below the award will see their loading rise from 20 to 25 per cent and can now apply to become part-time workers.
The agreement comes as Big W faces major losses, recently reporting $8 million in losses despite a rise in sales.
Woolworths has admitted the turnaround has been disappointing and the notion of closing Big W stores has been floated in reports.
In response to the potential store closures, the SDA increased redundancy entitlements for Big W workers.
Workers over 45 years of age will see maximum redundancy pay increased from 12 to 20 weeks after 10 years of employment, other workers’ rates will rise from 12 to 16 weeks’ pay.
The new agreement coupled with slowing consumer spending doesn’t spell good things for the Woolworths-owned department store.