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RUMOUR CONFIRMED: Coles underpaid workers by $20 million

The Rumour File
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Supermarket giant Coles has become the latest major retailer caught out underpaying staff.

The Rumour File was tipped off to a secret meeting of upper management on February 7, and yesterday broke the news that crisis meetings were being held amid an underpayment scandal.

Coles has today revealed it underpaid staff in its supermarkets and liquor businesses by $20 million over a six year period.

About one per cent of the supermarket giant’s employees have been underpaid. All of those affected were salaried team members and most were store managers.

The underpayment is still being reviewed and Fair Work has been notified.

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The union representing supermarket workers said the scandal is unsurprising.

“We’re not surprised in terms of the announcement,” Gerard Dwyer,¬†National Secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

The union wrote to over 100 major retailers in November, requesting that they conduct self-audits.

“Coles did engage. They continued to engage with us and we actually have further meetings scheduled with Coles,” Mr Dwyer said.

“There’s never an excuse for underpayment but at least the company has engaged, the company has agreed to making the payments.”

The union secretary said he expects more major retailers will be caught out underpaying staff.

“I think we’re going to find more,” he said.

“We’d just like to call on all companies operating in retail and fast food to actually approach it with the same openness and actually get on it.”

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Image: Bloomberg / Getty Images
The Rumour File