Thursday, 20 September 2018
At Woolworths we are committed to doing the right thing by our team members and our customers. As part of this commitment we have been working in partnership with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to put in place enhanced processes and protocols to protect the working conditions of cleaners in our stores.
We have entered into a voluntary proactive compliance agreement with the FWO to play our part in stamping out exploitation of vulnerable workers in the cleaning industry.
In entering this partnership we acknowledge that:
- we are responsible for compliance with all aspects of the law across our business operations and welcome the opportunity to work closely with the FWO to ensure ongoing compliance with Commonwealth workplace laws in respect of contractors of cleaning services and their employees who conduct such services for and on behalf of Woolworths;
- we have an ethical and moral responsibility to require and ensure standards of conduct from all entities and individuals directly involved in the conduct of our enterprise that comply with the law and meet Australian community and social expectations to provide equal, fair and safe work opportunities for persons employed at our sites;
- in the past, governance arrangements in relation to the contracting model that was used to engage cleaning 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; and
- in the past, our governance systems weren’t adequate enough to monitor contractor behaviour, which affected our ability to ensure compliance through the contractor chain and provided greater scope for primary contractors and subcontractors to exploit and underpay vulnerable workers.
As a result of the agreement with the FWO the following applies:
- 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 proper governance structures are in place to monitor and regulate through robust contractual provisions 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.
As a Group we have also introduced additional governance measures, including those required under the agreement, such as the establishment of an internal compliance team. The team are tasked with monitoring and driving compliance in Woolworths’ cleaning procurement practices, including by conducting on−site compliance audits, managing Woolworths’ external audit program and investigating and managing complaints.
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.
We welcome 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.
Cleaners are an integral part of our store teams, providing an essential service across Woolworths’ sites nationwide.
We thank them for their continued hard word and support of our customers.
If you or anyone you know has been exploited in any way as a cleaner on a Woolworths site, we encourage you to contact the Woolworths Speak-Up line on the details below. You can make an enquiry, lodge a complaint or report potential non−compliance with Commonwealth workplace laws in relation to cleaning services, including the underpayment of wages.
Woolworths Vendor Speak Up Service
Phone: 1800 772 173