Issues with a store transfer? Read this!

Retail worker, Barry*, recently needed a transfer to another workplace but ran into unexpected problems when he arrived there.

He faced an all too common problem. His employer attempted to unlawfully cut his hours from full-time to casual in the space of a few weeks.

Barry works for a large national retailer on a full-time basis. When a family member fell ill, he spoke to his boss and applied for a transfer.

His transfer was granted but when he arrived at his new workplace there was an unexpected turn of events.

Before commencing at the new workplace, Barry visited his new store to introduce himself. The store manager was not available but the local department manager on duty  advised him that there were no full time positions available.  Perplexed and more than a little concerned, Barry left the store worried about supporting his family as they had moved to care for a sick family member.

When Barry reported for work on his agreed start date, things deteriorated further. He was greeted with a contract stating that he was now casual.

The Department Manager also stated that if Barry did not sign this contract, he would not be paid at all. Worried about how he was going to provide for his family, Barry immediately sought advice and assistance from the Union.

At first, Barry was very nervous as he did not want to create friction at his new store. But he realised if he did not stand up and speak up his full-time job was at risk.

With the assistance of the Union, Barry collected written evidence of his full-time transfer and a meeting was convened at which Barry brought union representation. Upon advice from the Union, Barry had taken a screenshot of the transfer just in case anything went wrong. It came in handy!

At the meeting, the evidence of the transfer was produced. The Union also produced evidence that someone had changed Barry’s transfer position from full time to part time with a loss of 12 hours per week and then from part time to casual with no guarantee of any hours.

 

Unilateral change of contract (i.e. without the consent of the worker) is unlawful. If the matter had not been resolved the union would have made application to the Fair Work Commission on behalf of Barry for unfair dismissal.

 

Barry was reinstated to his full-time job and received full time hours based on the original transfer. Unpaid hours, superannuation and leave accruals were all also updated and returned to Barry.

 

Barry and his wife were deeply appreciative of the assistance and intervention of the SDA:

 

“Without the Union setting up the meeting and delivering evidence to support me, the Company would have made me casual and effectively terminated my permanent position”.

If SDA members find themselves in need of a transfer, please call the office for help and advice on 02 4961 4694. We are here to help.

* name changed to protect the member's privacy.

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