The Fair Work Commission has found that Chemist Warehouse is not bargaining in good faith, says the National Union of Workers
In a statement today the NUW and its legal team, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, said that the FWC decision comes “after Chemist Warehouse management attempted to put an enterprise agreement to vote without union approval”.
The FWC has ordered that the vote to approve the draft ePharmacy Preston Enterprise Agreement, which had been scheduled for 27 March, be delayed at least 21 days unless the ePharmacy Group (part of the Chemist Warehouse group, which is handling the agreement) and the NUW agree to an earlier date.
The FWC has ordered bargaining meetings to continue, with the two parties told to schedule at least three meetings over the next 14 days at an agreed time and place, unless otherwise agreed by ePharmacy Group and the NUW.
“This decision confirms that an employer seeking to bypass a union and put an agreement out to a vote can constitute a breach of good faith bargaining requirements,” said Daniel Victory, Principal Lawyer Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.
“I’m sure this decision will be a bitter pill to swallow for Chemist Warehouse but they need to come back to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith.”
Chemist Warehouse co-founder Damien Gance had told Fairfax Media on Sunday that the discounter had made a good offer to its distribution centre workers, saying they were already paid “well above award rates.
The National Union of Workers had also alleged that it had seen cars and trucks deliberately drive into striking workers, causing them to be hospitalised.
It also said that workers have received death threats and cars have been damaged.
Damien Gance told Fairfax that he “expressly and unequivocally” denied these claims, saying the chain has asked office workers – who are not striking – to inflame the situation.
AJP has reached out to Chemist Warehouse for comment.