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Woolworths settles 2019 class action over underpaying staff

Woolworths Group Ltd said on Friday it has provisionally settled a class action lawsuit filed against it by a Canberra law firm in 2019 for underpaying supermarket workers.

The retailer said it would make an ex-gratia payment of A$2,500 plus retirement benefits to its about 20,000 current and former salaried team store members, who worked with the retailer for at least six months between January 2010 and September 2013.

This takes the total payment under the class action settlement to an estimated A$50 million ($36.56 million).

Adero Law filed a class action in November 2019 on behalf of Woolworths Supermarkets employees after the grocery chain disclosed it had underpaid thousands of supermarket workers for years.

Woolworths is facing another civil proceeding by Australia’s industrial relations watchdog, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

The FWO sued the retailer earlier this year for underpaying workers and is seeking repayment of the outstanding amounts, as well as penalties.

Adero Law did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta.

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