Australia: Woolworths agrees to audit cleaning contractors annually and rectify underpayments

Author: Ewin Hannan, The Australian, Published on: 10 September 2018

"Woolies to audit contract cleaners to stop exploitation of workers", 29 August 2018

Woolworths will audit cleaning contractors each year and rectify underpayment of cleaners after a scathing report found poor governance by the supermarket giant contributed to serious exploitation of vulnerable workers.

A Fair Work Ombudsman investigation uncovered rampant exploitation of cleaners at Woolworths, with contractors paying Tasmanian cleaners as little as $7 an hour for training and $14 an hour for work...

Woolworths has entered into a national compliance deed with the ombudsman to ensure its cleaning contractors are paying their workers correctly and meeting their workplace obligations.

Woolworths accepts that ”in the past” its governance of contract cleaning had not “fully prevented an environment where employees have been vulnerable to exploitation”, including underpayment of wages.

Woolworths acknowledged inadequate governance gave contractors greater scope to exploit and underpay vulnerable workers. Woolworths agreed to ensure contract prices were sufficient to meet minimum employee entitlements, and annual audits of contractors would be conducted by independent auditors.

Woolworths will rectify underpayments by requiring a primary contractor to back-pay substantiated claims or, when this has not occurred within 20 business days, through an ex gratia payment by Woolworths...

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Related companies: Woolworths Group Australia