Recently Woolworths notified department managers across all supermarkets that their roles have been made redundant as part of a new operating model designed to “consolidate” management positions.
The AMIEU was not consulted on the changes and learned of Woolworths intention at the same time as employees.
On Wednesday 12th June AMIEU Officials met with Woolworths representatives to discuss our concerns and those raised by members.
The AMIEU raised the general concern that there appears to be a risk that people are essentially performing the same job albeit with a different title and possibly additional duties/responsibilities will be paid less money.
We raised the fundamental injustice of that and asked whether the Company would be willing to protect the existing take home pay of an employee in such a scenario. We have also asked Woolworths to provide specific feedback on how they reconcile that a current EBA Tradesperson level 5 be expected to apply for a position as an Assistant Manager (retail Employee Level 3) and attract a lower wage than the tradespeople (Tradesperson Level 4) who they will be responsible for directing. The AMIEU is awaiting Woolworths’ response in relation to these matters.
Given the wording of a standard Woolworths Salary Contract, which generally gives Woolworths a right to engage salary employees in other departments/roles/locations, Woolworths in our view should move such an employee to the “new” roles without a need for re-applying for a position or a reduction to the employee’s wage.
Woolworths told us that the change will not lead to a net reduction in the overall number of team members employed in stores, stating that there will be more managers positions available overall as a consequence of the restructure. Specifically that there would be several thousand more Assistant Managers positions nationally.
It appears Woolworths is undertaking a wage cutting exercise which they are trying to disguise as a redundancy.
The AMIEU is taking legal advice on these matters and will update members further when more information becomes available.
Please contact the AMIEU office on 07 3217 3766 if you would like to discuss your concerns with an official.