will be forced to defend itself against more allegations from the Fair Work Ombudsman
of exploitation of supermarket workers.
Reports suggest some outsourced cleaning staff in Tasmania could be owed tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages – the new claims come weeks after Woolworths
was forced to go on the defensive against allegations regarding the underpayment of trolley collectors contracted to Woolworths
in New South Wales.
However, a Woolworths
spokesperson has defended the supermarket’s practice regarding the new claims, stating, “Woolworths
has worked with the Fair Work Ombudsman
over many years to seek to eliminate exploitation of workers employed by contractors and subcontractors.
"We have invested significant resources in implementing processes to identify and address any workplace non-compliances by contractors in Woolworths
' supply chain."
have put in place a range of initiatives to guard against exploitation, and set up a helpline.
In the latest case, the Fair Work Ombudsman
found that cleaners employed by Woolworths
contractors and sub-contractors in Tasmania are owed more than $21,000.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James
and other large chains that they will face persecution for exploitation of workers in their supply chain – including contractors and sub-contractors.
James said, “Outsourcing is a legitimate business arrangement – but in my experience, in highly competitive markets for low-skilled work, it also increases the risk that workers will be underpaid, sometimes quite deliberately."
The court documents show the Fair Work Ombudsman
is pursuing cleaning firm Pioneer Facility Services and subsidiary Pioneer Contracting Services, contracted by Woolworths
to clean supermarkets throughout Australia. Also facing allegations is OzKorea, a former cleaning sub-contractor at four branches of Woolworths
in Tasmania, and its director Sun Hun Gwang.
Inspectors found that OzKorea underpaid workers with alleged illegal flat rates of $14 per hour, while it is also alleged that Hwang falsified time sheets and wages figures provided to inspectors. OzKorea faces penalties of up to $54,000 for some contraventions, with Hwang facing penalties of between $5,400 and $10,800.