Coles admits it underpaid managers in its supermarkets and liquor stores by $20 million over the past six years.
Chief executive Steve Cain made the announcement today, confirming 5 percent of managers are affected.
Coles admits underpaying managers after review
Coles revealed it underpaid 1150 of its team members as a result of differences between their remuneration compared to the Award.
The supermarket giant commenced a review after rival supermarket Woolwoths admitted to underpaying staff $300 million last year.
As a result, Mr Cain apologised to his staff who are “unintentionally affected”:
“We are working at pace with a team of external experts to finalise our review.
“Once completed we will contact all affected team members, both current and former, to remediate any identified differences in full.
“Coles has implemented steps to improve our systems and processes.”
Unions says full scale of the wage theft is much higher
Retail and Fast Food Workers Union secretary, Josh Cullinan, believes the underpayments are much higher than the supermarket suggests.
He said the union’s calculations estimate the underpayments are well in excess of $20 million.
He said the union will pursue any underpayments on behalf of their members.
The company notified the Fair Work Ombudsman this morning.
Coles managers received notices last week saying the company had “identified inconsistencies in clocking [on] patterns and salaried team member ways of working”.
Coles latest to join wage theft shame file
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims said he is disgusted by the wage theft.
“Coles seems to get all its business systems, their logistics and stores right – but in contrast, they don’t know how to pay wages,” he said.
“This should not happen, and furthermore, it is evidence that wage theft is epidemic in Australia.”
Coles joins Woolworths and a growing list of Aussie companies on the wage theft shame file.
- the ABC,
- Super Retail Group,
- Commonwealth Bank,
- Rockpool Dining Group,
- Sunglass Hut,
- and George Calombaris’ hospitality group MAdE.