THE Retail and Fast Food Workers Union has demanded Woolworths hold off on plans for a new store operating model amid concerns about job losses.
The union estimates about 10 - 15 management and administration roles at each and every Woolworths store could be made redundant.
It is understood all management or administration roles below the store manager will be affected.
Woolworths Supermarkets managing director Claire Peters said the changes would not lead to a net reduction in the number of team members employed in stores.
"However, we do understand the new opportunities in the revised structure may not appeal to everyone, and will make sure those team members are fully supported in their transition," Ms Peters said.
Supermarket team members were yesterday briefed about the changes.
The company expects the new model to be rolled out 'in the coming months'.
The union understands there will be retrenchments at the end of September.
RAFFWU secretary Josh Cullinan said thousands of Woolworths workers would be affected, even if they weren't being retrenched, with major roster changes one of the predicted outcomes.
In a post on social media, RAFFWU said it had demanded that Woolworths put their plans on hold until workers and the union had been properly consulted.
Other demands included guaranteeing every worker who wanted to stay in the business was given a job, guaranteeing the take-home pay of every worker, and enhancing severance for any affected workers.
"The abolition of thousands of management roles in stores will only see a worse customer experience, all in the pursuit of a buck," the union said in its video post.
Ms Peters said the changes reflected customer feedback.
"We've heard from our customers that they want to see more team members available on the shop floor to serve and support them," she said.
"Under the new operating model, we're creating more customer-facing leadership roles to help us deliver better service to our customers across more hours of the day and to meet their changing shopping needs."
The new structure will result in two new departments: Fresh Service, which will manage customer service at the deli, butchery and seafood counters; and Fresh Convenience, which will manage dairy, eggs, pre-packaged meat, branded breads and meal solutions.
Woolworths said it would consolidate some existing departmental roles to help invest more resources into customer-facing supervisory roles across the store.
"We understand the changes we're making to our store operating model may create uncertainty and stress for some of our team members," Ms Peters said.
"We're committed to working closely with impacted team members to identify potential redeployment opportunities in our business over the coming months."
The company will spend $10 million training team members in the new roles and departments.
"We know these are difficult decisions - we haven't taken them lightly and are committed to doing the right thing for our team and customers," Ms Peters said.
"As the retail market continues to evolve, we need to ensure we're set up to deliver the service our customers expect, so we can continue supporting more than 115,000 Australian jobs in our supermarkets."
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