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 processes and protocols to protect our trolley collectors, who are an important part of our team.
As a Group we are proud to confirm we have now entered into a voluntary proactive compliance agreement with the FWO to play our part in stamping out any exploitation of vulnerable workforces, such as the trolley collection industry.
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 trolley collection services and their employees who conduct such services for and on behalf of Woolworths.
As part of this process with the FWO, it was acknowledged that in the past, governance 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.
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.
As a result of the agreement with the FWO:
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' trolley collection procurement practices, including by conducting on−site compliance audits, managing Woolworths' external audit program and investigating and managing complaints.
Brad Banducci, CEO of Woolworths Group said: “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.
“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.”
If you or anyone you know has been exploited in any way as a trolley collector 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 trolley collection services, including the underpayment of wages.