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SDA takes Woolworths to Fair Work over new store structure

The SDA, the union for workers in retail, fast food and warehousing, is taking Woolworths to the Fair Work Commission over its consultation obligations in the overhaul of its store management structure.

Last week, the supermarket announced plans to revamp its store operating model for the first time since 2011, a move that could lead to redundancies.

SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer said the union is challenging whether Woolworths is undertaking “genuine redundancies” and whether the timeframe provided to staff is reasonable.

“We’re extremely disappointed that Woolworths has undertaken a restructure of this magnitude and in such a timeframe,” Dwyer said in statement. “The SDA has had no input into the design or implementation of this far reaching restructure process.”

Woolworths however says that it is complying with its consultation obligations under the Woolworths Supermarkets Agreement 2018 and General Retail Industry Award.

A spokesperson for the supermarket said Woolworths has been “proactive” in consulting with the SDA on the new operating model, “including during the pilot program rolled out across more than 25 stores in March”.

“We’ll continue to consult closely with our team members and their representatives on the transition over the coming months. Our immediate focus is identifying as many redeployment opportunities as possible for impacted team members across our business,” the spokesperson said.

While the number of team members required under the new store operating model to be rolled out in late September will not change, some current roles will be made redundant as it consolidates some existing departmental management roles.

The retailer said it has put has put together a dedicated team across its store network to help employees understand their options.

The SDA said it is working closely with Woolworths workers through the process and will continue to represent their interests.

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