Pfizer Enterprise Agreement
Another agreement, which was criticized by Senator Bragg, concerned store workers for Coles, also in Melbourne, and struck again with NUW. Employment contracts for shopping workers at Coles and employees of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer are under attack as part of a new government initiative to reform superannuation. Senator Bragg also identified several other agreements, citing figures from the Department of Finance, which show that more than 30 per cent of the labour force was in a default fund that they did not choose. Under existing legislation, which the government sought to amend without success during its last term, companies and unions can designate a fund on behalf of workers in an enterprise agreement. NUW Secretary of State Tim Kennedy said the right to elect a superannuation fund was reflected in the union`s negotiated agreements with employers. A Coles spokesman said all Coles employees could choose their supernuation fund and that any allegation that the agreement would not allow it was false. “We support giving consumers the right to choose their own superannuation fund if they are employed under an employment definition or enterprise agreement,” he said. Pfizer and Coles both stated that employees covered by their agreements could designate a valid fund of their choice and found that their employees had approved the agreements. But Senator Bragg said the point was that the law does not require companies to allow a choice once they have established preferred employment contracts.
An agreement drawn up by Senator Bragg was a 2018 Pfizer agreement on a production plant in Melbourne, which contains a clause stipulating that employees can choose their fund, but that “employees` choices,” a “Super Run” pfizer fund or the Labour Union Co-Operative Retirement Fund (LUCRF Fund) are. Senator Bragg said the government would “get back up shortly” to address the issue of funds allocated through employment contracts. The agreement stipulates that the superannuation is forwarded to the LUCRF fund, unless the employee chooses another compliant fund. How can someone refuse to leave it to workers to choose where their money is going? “Pfizer values the rights of employees to choose their own superannuation fund,” he said. MP Andrew Bragg attacked the Coles and Pfizer agreements with the National Union of Workers and said they had stressed the urgent need for reform. The spokesperson stated that one-third of the plant`s employees were not members of the designated fund. “Linking defaults to the employer and not to the member has led to the unwanted reality of members who accumulate multiple accounts… and pay double royalty rates through the extension,” he explains.
Cameron Sinclair, policy advisor at Super Consumers Australia at CHOICE, backed the demand for change and said restrictions on the choice of funds were “a significant restriction on member competition.”