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SDA case in Fair Work Commission ongoing

Today the SDA was in the Fair Work Commission in relation to the Woolworths restructure for our dispute with Woolworths.
After a full day of proceedings the matter is not concluded. The FWC will oversee further attempts to resolve key concerns.

The matter will be back before the FWC next week on Monday 24 June.

Whilst the FWC process is ongoing Woolworths have agreed to extend the period employees can apply for positions to Wednesday 26 June in NSW & ACT and to Friday 28 June in all other states.


The SDA opposes the Woolworths decision on restructuring.

We are fighting to protect workers jobs, pay and conditions.

The SDA is taking Woolworths to the Fair Work Commission against the restructure.

The proposed changes are in no way connected to the new Woolworths Agreement and is not something the SDA had any input into.

Remember, you must be consulted on changes to your employment and you should not feel pressured or rushed to make any decision.

The SDA helping all SDA members with advice, support and information, please talk to your local SDA Delegate, Organiser or contact us for specific advice.



It’s our priority to:

  • secure ongoing employment,
  • protect take home pay
  • ensure any redundancies are genuine

We’ll be seeking a major settlement on these issues.

The SDA wants to ensure Woolies workers are protected and treated with dignity and respect.

We will keep you informed with any updates as they come to hand.

A message from SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer ahead of SDA matter in the Fair Work Commission against the Woolworths restructure.

If the Woolworths restructure impacts you, let us know.

Woolworths fails to consult with members and SDA on changes

The SDA has lodged a dispute with Woolworths in the Fair Work Commission for failing to consult with the SDA on behalf of members on the proposed changes from the new operating model, the impact of those changes and ways to minimise any impacts.

The SDA’s priority in this process and this dispute is to:

  • secure ongoing work for our members
  • to protect our members take home pay
  • to test any proposed redundancies as to whether they are genuine redundancies or not

Today Woolworths have circulated a “Team Update on SDA dispute”. In their update Woolworths refers to discussions with the SDA prior to, during and after a trial in some NSW stores. This is misleading. The SDA was informed by Delegates on 12 March 2019 at a Delegates meeting that Woolworths were making an announcement the following day of some changes in store.

On that day the SDA was in contact with Woolworths and were told that a trial would be announced and commence the next day 13 March 2019. A meeting to provide the SDA NSW Branch with information about the trial did not occur until after the trial started. Early in the trial the SDA NSW Branch raised concerns on behalf of members about the process and communication and a number of issues were raised for members through the disputes procedure.

There was no evaluation of how the trial had gone with any input from the SDA. The SDA was not provided with a detailed breakdown of what the impacts of the trial had been, had it been successful or could any impacts be minimised before Woolworths made a decision to implement further changes nationally. The SDA was in fact still dealing with some disputes arising from the trial when Woolworths informed the SDA and then announced that they would be making national changes.

The national changes are more far reaching than the trial. Whilst the national changes were announced there has not yet been proper consultation on the national changes with the SDA.

The Woolworths Supermarkets Agreement 2018 requires when a major change is to occur that there is proper consultation with members and the SDA on how to avoid or minimise job losses and how to minimise any impacts from the changes. This has not happened and this is why the SDA has lodged a dispute with Woolworths in the Fair Work Commission.

The SDA will use the dispute in the Fair Work Commission to:

  • secure ongoing work for our members
  • to protect our members take home pay
  • to test any proposed redundancies as to whether they are genuine redundancies or not

The SDA will keep members updated on all matters to do with these proposed changes.

Woolworths Announces Operating Changes
Woolworths has announced and started discussing with team members a restructure of the store operating model for Woolworths Supermarkets nationally. Some members have contacted the SDA about the proposed changes to the store operating model after they have had discussions with their local managers about the proposed changes.

The restructure announced  appears to be based on a trial undertaken in stores in Zone 3 in March this year. The SDA actively represented our members who were affected by the trial in Zone 3.

The SDA’s focus in this restructure will be on protecting members’ ongoing employment and minimising the impact of any changes on our members.

SDA Members Have Our Support
All SDA members have our full support.

SDA members are advised not to rush any decision as there will need to be a lot of consultation and discussions with Woolworths on these proposed changes to minimise the impact on members.

The SDA is with you at work to support our members.

SDA will seek discussions on the new store operating model
The SDA NSW Branch has been involved in representing members in Zone 3 who have been through similar changes. We will seek discussions with Woolworths on the changes announced yesterday.

Based on our experience in Zone 3 please read the below information
In Zone 3 the new operating model impacted on a number of roles, including the following:

Assistant Store Manager (ASM) – (small stores only)
Deli / Seafood Manager
Deli / Seafood Team Support
Duty Manager
Head Reserve Stockhand
Inventory Manager
Inventory Team Support
Longlife Team Manager – (small stores only)
Merchandising Team Support
Seafood Team Manager
Seafood Team Support
Store Services Officer (SSO)
Some team members in other roles may be also impacted.

Some of these roles were consolidated into new roles. The names of some roles will change, and some of the roles (eg Duty Manager) will no longer exist.

We understand that all impacted team members have been advised and asked to reapply for a new position.

Existing Team Members To Get Preference
Woolworths have made it clear that existing team members will get preference for any new roles.

The SDA encourages all members to apply for a new role. Our priority is to secure ongoing employment for SDA members.

Members do not have to put in a detailed application or CV to be part of the application process. Application is made through Success Factors, and you can select a number of positions you are interested in.

In assessing applicants for positions Woolworths will:

use an online quiz tool;
Have an interview with the applicants; and
Review your past work performance appraisals
In the Zone 3 process Woolworths said they wanted a fair process, so if members have any concerns about bias and want your interview to be conducted by a different manager to your current store manager you can request a different interviewer.

Where a team member is not successful in obtaining a new role, Woolworths will seek to redeploy the team member to another role. Redundancies will only be considered as a last option, where no other opportunity is available.

In cases where a Team Member is considering accepting a different role of a position with a lower rate of pay you should contact the SDA to discuss what impact this will have on you. We can then discuss with you and Woolworths what conditions will apply to your new role or whether Woolworths should pay you a partial redundancy.

It is important that any SDA member impacted by the change to their role contact the SDA for advice and assistance.

SDA Raising Concerns on Behalf Of Members
The SDA’s position is that where a Team Member is not successful in applying for a new role, redeployment should be the primary focus, with redundancy being available only at the Team Member’s request, or where redeployment is not available.

While the SDA welcomes the approach of Woolworths Supermarkets to find alternative employment for employees to ensure continuing employment, the SDA’s position is that it must be alternative employment which is acceptable to employees.

Employees must not feel pressured to take a role for which they are not suited.

The SDA will engage Woolworths to work through all issues on behalf of affected SDA members.

Advice on Redundancy
If members are considering taking a redundancy they should contact their local SDA Branch to check their entitlements. Some members may also wish to contact REST Superannuation for information on 1300 300 778.

At Work With You
As members go through this difficult process the SDA will be at work with you. We are only a phone call away to provide support and assistance.