Woolworths has announced its commitment to protect their trolley collectors. The supermarket giant said they are working with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to have a voluntary proactive compliance agreement to prevent any forms of exploitation of vulnerable workforces.
“At Woolworths we remain committed to ensuring responsible compliance with all aspects of the law across our business operations. It’s also a fundamental requirement of any business partner working alongside Woolworths,” said Brad Banducci, CEO of Woolworths Group.
“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. 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.
“Trolley collectors are an integral part of our store teams, providing an essential service across Woolworths’ sites nationwide. We’d like to thank them for their continued hard word and support of our customers.”
Woolies said they will ensure the compliance with the Commonwealth Workplace Laws. The supermarket giant said the governance arrangements in the past 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 such as underpayment of wages.
“We also acknowledged that our governance systems weren’t adequate enough to monitor contractor behaviour, which affected our ability to ensure compliance through the contractor chain,” according to Woolworths’ company statement.
The agreement between Woolies and the FWO are as follows:
- Woolworths contractors are now required to make and keep accurate employment records required under the Fair Work Act and Fair Work Regulations. This ensures employees, Woolworths and the FWO are able to verify whether employees are receiving their full employee entitlements.
- Woolworths will continue to ensure there are proper governance structures in place to monitor and regulate the employment practices and arrangements of its contractors.
- Woolworths will ensure, to the extent possible, that employees of subcontractors covered by these arrangements who have been underpaid since 1 July 2014 are paid their full employee entitlements due to them under Commonwealth Workplace Laws.
- Woolworths will require contractors to ensure that their current and future employees at each Woolworths site receive the full entitlements due to them under Commonwealth Workplace Laws.
Woolworths also said they have created an internal compliance team, who will monitor and drive compliance in the company’s trolley collection procurement practices, including by conducting on−site compliance audits, managing external audit program, investigating and managing complaints.