Bakers Delight agreement application dismissed

By Nick Hall | 09 Sep 2019 View comments

Iconic Australian franchise Bakers Delight has had its plans to scrap an employee payment agreement thrown out, after a communication breakdown with the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

According to court documents, Bakers Delight HR manager Bridie Nugent submitted the application to have its 2006 Collective Agreement terminated in August. In the statutory declaration, Nugent indicated that the heritage franchise intended on transferring awards.

“Bakers Delight Holdings LTD intends to terminate the Bakers Delight Holdings LTD Collective Agreement (New South Wales) 2006 and transfer onto the General Retail Industry Award 2010 as employees will be better off overall,” Nugent declared.

A spokesperson for the brand said the application was made as part of Bakers Delight’s ongoing review of workplace agreements.

“Bakers Delight Holdings believes staff will be better off under the General Retail Industry Award 2010 because it mandates specific work conditions,” the spokesperson told Inside Franchise Business.

Franchisees “better off”

Under the award, casual employees would receive 25 per cent loading, instead of the usual 20 per cent. Additionally, bakers would receive the relevant shift allowance rather than a flat 15 per cent and annual leave loading would be provided as per the award.

The spokesperson also suggested new franchisees were likely to benefit from the transition as well.

“Incoming Franchisees are also expected to be better off because the award provides consistency across employment conditions for all staff when they take over a new business,” they said.

Bakers Delight communication breakdown

However, with little supporting details to substantiate the application, FWC deputy president Richard Clancy suggested a telephone mention was necessary.

“I intended to ascertain how many employees are covered by the agreement, in what classifications they are employed and whether or not they are aware the application has been made,” Clancy said.

“I also wanted to determine the current rates of pay of the employees covered by the agreement because it was evident its nominal expiry date was reached approximately 10 years ago.”

At the time of the call however, Nugent could not be reached, putting an immediate halt to the application.

“It is not possible for me to make the findings I am required to make pursuant to s.226 of the Act due to the lack of information in the application and accompanying statutory declaration. The application filed on 15 August 2019 is therefore dismissed,” Clancy said.

Resubmission

Bakers Delight has since indicated that a miscommunication was to blame for the breakdown, indicating the brand plans on resubmitting the application as soon as possible.

“Bakers Delight Holdings is currently preparing new paperwork and will be making a new application with the Commission in the near future,” the spokesperson said.

While he welcomed Bakers Delight’s resubmission, the FWC deputy president did have some words of advice for the heritage franchise.

“Should Bakers Delight wish to make a new application to terminate the agreement, it is welcome to do so,” Clancy said.

“Being responsive to future contact from the Commission would also be worthwhile.”

Bakers Delight currently operates over 700 outlets across Australia, New Zealand and Canada. At present, all Australian stores are covered under the 2006 agreement.