Supermarket tight-lipped over changes

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WOOLWORTHS management is remaining tight-lipped about the impact on its Millicent supermarket of a nationwide staffing restructure.

Its Davenport Street store has been Millicent’s largest retailer since its opening in 1970 and currently has a staff of 62.

The majority of its employees are members of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Union (SDA) and its regional organiser Sean Pudney has visited the store in recent days.

Millicent manager Benny Peck has declined to comment on the restructure and the company’s Sydney headquarters has issued a statement to The South Eastern Times.

The statement contains no Millicent-specific information.

“Under our new operating model, we are creating more customer facing leadership roles to help us deliver better service to our customers and to meet their changing shopping needs,” the spokesperson said.

“Our immediate focus is identifying as many redeployment opportunities as possible for impacted team members across our business.

“Importantly, the changes will not lead to a net reduction in the overall number of team members we employ in our stores.

“We know these are difficult decisions — we have not taken them lightly and are committed to doing the right thing for our team and customers.”

Last week Woolworths started consulting with its supermarket team members on a new $10m store operating model set to be rolled out in late September.

The changes are the first undertaken by the supermarket at a store level since 2011 and will see the company consolidate some existing departmental management roles.

The new roles – known as assistant team managers – will be employed under the terms of the Enterprise Agreement, which offers above-award pay and conditions.

The new structure will also see the creation of two new departments – Fresh Service and Fresh Convenience.

Woolworths has deployed a dedicated team across its store network to help team members understand the changes and their redeployment options.