Woolworths strikes deal with Fair Work Ombudsman

Woolworths-3Woolworths has entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), aiming to stamp out exploitation of ‘vulnerable workforces’ including the trolley collection industry.

In a statement, the supermarket giant acknowledged that its past arrangements in relation to the contracting model that was used to engage trolley collection services at Woolworths, “had not fully prevented an environment where employees had been vulnerable to exploitation in the workplace, including by way of underpayment of wages.”

As a result of the agreement with the FWO, Woolworths contractors are now required to make and keep accurate employment records required under the Fair Work Act and Fair Work Regulations.

Woolworths said that employees of subcontractors covered by these arrangements who have been underpaid since 1 July 2014 will be paid full employee entitlements due to them under Commonwealth Workplace Laws.

“As one of Australia’s largest retailers it’s also critical for us to acknowledge the importance of our ethical and moral responsibility to do the right thing by our team members,” said Brad Banducci, CEO of Woolworths Group.

“We have welcomed this opportunity to work closely with the FWO to ensure standards of conduct from all entities and individuals directly involved with our business, comply with the law and meet Australian community and social expectations. This also provides equal, fair and safe work opportunities for all our team members.”

Woolies added that it has introduced additional governance measures, including the establishment of an internal compliance team, who will be tasked with monitoring and driving compliance in Woolworths’ trolley collection procurement practices, including by conducting on−site compliance audits, managing Woolworths’ external audit program and investigating and managing complaints.

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