Subway workers fights Zombie Agreements

SDA Members at Subway sites across the country are standing up and fighting to abolish decade-old, non-union Agreements which are leaving them worse off. 

This year, 17-year-old SDA Member Chantelle (with the support of the SDA) has lodged an application in the Fair Work Commission to terminate a non-union “Zombie” Enterprise Agreement which 60 Subway sites operate under.

This Agreement has seen hundreds of Subway workers shortchanged and seen them miss out on newer conditions and entitlements – but this isn’t the only instance of this.

In 2019, the SDA helped April – a teenage Subway worker in the NT – file an application to terminate a different Subway Agreement, which saw her underpaid thousands in wage each year.

This Agreement came into effect when April was just six years old and expired in 2012.

Chantelle and April both said that they were never paid penalty rates under these Enterprise Agreements.

“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,” says Chantelle.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, this issue isn’t limited to Chantelle and April. Thousands of workers are being ripped off by hundreds of outdated Agreements.

In order to eliminate these agreements quickly, we need to radically change our industrial laws.

Under our current laws, unions have no rights to terminate a Zombie Agreement, unless a worker is prepared to take the matter into their own hands.

This has led to a system where young, non-unionised workers feel intimidated into accepting subpar wages.

Work at Subway? Get involved in our campaign to terminate Zombie Agreements 

There are roughly 300 Zombie Agreements still active at Subway alone, which are leading to thousands of workers – mostly teenagers – being ripped off. 

The only way we can scrap all of these Agreements is by workers standing up and calling this out.

If you work at Subway and think you might be covered by a Zombie Agreement, take our confidential survey so we can support you. 

What’s a Zombie Agreement?

A “Zombie Agreement” is a workplace instrument that is past its nominal expiry date but continues to operate as it hasn’t been terminated or replaced by another Agreement.

This means that workers’ wages and conditions are frozen and don’t improve as changes occur to the relevant modern Awards.

These Agreements are leaving workers substantially worse off than other workers in the same sector.