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17 year old takes on Subway’s Zombie Agreement at the Fair Work Commission

12 February 2022

Chantelle Zentveld, who recently turned 17, has lodged an application in the Fair Work Commission to terminate the non-union Enterprise Agreement under which a cluster of 60 Subway employers operate. That Agreement was approved back in 2011 and its nominal expiry date was back in 2015.

These non-union Zombie agreements between employers and their workers mean that tens of thousands of Australians cannot access the full entitlements of their relevant award, so they get paid less than other workers in the sector.

Only workers with the courage of Ms Zentveld can act to address this injustice; unions have no rights in such matters unless a worker is prepared to take the matter into his or her own hands.

The SDA will be supporting Ms Zentveld all the way and any other SDA members with the same courage in similar predicaments.

Ms Zentveld said: “It is well and truly time that this Zombie agreement is terminated. It should not be given ongoing life to operate like a zombie.”

Ms Zentveld said that because employment conditions were approved over a decade ago, it means she and others receive no penalty rates, which they would if they were on the Fast Food Award, and they only receive 20% casual loading instead of 25%.

“When I started working at Subway, I was told they pay above the fast food award. I can’t even say that this was misleading; it is just blatantly untrue.

“On Boxing Day I worked alongside someone who said they were doing an 8-hour shift and were doing it because it was double pay.

“Sadly, it wasn’t. In fact, it wasn’t even normal pay. People assume they are being treated fairly but are not.”

Quotes from Gerard Dwyer, National Secretary the SDA the union for retail, fast food, warehouse and online retail workers:

“There are dozens of these Zombie agreements, many of them dating from John Howard’s Workchoices era, which are leading to thousands of teenage workers being ripped off.

“This shocking case highlights a broken workplace bargaining system trapping thousands of teenagers on these Zombie agreements.

“Current industrial laws intimidate young, non-unionised workers into accepting sub-standard wages.

“This brave young woman has said “No” to Subway and its intimidation.

“The contrast between her Hungry Jacks union agreement and her Subway non-union Zombie agreement is a clear example of unions working with and for young people.

“The SDA is working with members to terminate these agreements and give workers the wages they deserve.”


Contact: Jim Middleton 0418 627066