Woolworths has told investors there were more staff underpaid across its businesses as it expects the bill from its wages underpayment scandal to hit $200m
Woolworths has told investors there were more staff underpaid across its businesses as it expects the bill from its wages underpayment scandal to hit $200m

More Woolies staff underpaid in $200m scandal

Woolworths has told investors it expects the bill from its wages underpayment scandal to come in at the lower end of the $200 million to $300 million range it previously flagged, even as more cases come to light.

Chairman Gordon Cairns confirmed at Monday's annual general meeting in Sydney that further underpayments had been uncovered at businesses including Dan Murphy's and BWS, though the amount was "nowhere near" the extent of underpayments found at its supermarket division.

Shareholders are set to vote on whether the company has shaved enough from its executive team's pay packets following October's revelation it had underpaid at least 5,700 staff over nine years.

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci is seen during the Woolworths Group Limited Annual General Meeting. Picture: AAP
Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci is seen during the Woolworths Group Limited Annual General Meeting. Picture: AAP

Chief executive Brad Banducci has already given up a potential $2.6 million bonus and Mr Cairns has also taken a 20 per cent cut to his $790,531 board fee after the company only discovered it had been keeping cash from employees when shocked store managers complained they were earning less than their staff. Woolworths is also facing an employee class action which accuses it of substantially underestimating the scale of the underpayment bill, something the company denies.

Mr Cairns - who took exception to one shareholder's use of the term "wage theft" - said he did not have concrete guidance, but was hopeful the total remediation bill would be at the lower end of the $200 million to $300 million. "To discover that we have underpaid so many of our team members has been incredibly disappointing," Mr Cairns said.

Woolworths reports back on its underpayment scandal. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
Woolworths reports back on its underpayment scandal. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

 

MORE NEWS

Tough new alcohol guidelines revealed

Why shoppers want more from loyalty programs

How Aussie FBI-trained 'Mindhunter' caught a rapist

More Aussie volcano deaths confirmed as cruisers angry

 

 

The company's remuneration report was approved by 94.23 per cent of shareholders, while Holly Kramer, Siobhan McKenna, Kathee Tesija, and Jennifer Carr-Smith were each successful in their bid for re-election to board. Investors will also vote at Monday's meeting on whether to push ahead with the first stage of the planned restructure and demerger of Woolworths' hotel, liquor and gaming businesses.

The segment is set to become a new listed entity called Endeavour Group in 2020 if all goes to plan.

The underpayments scandal comes during what has otherwise been a successful 2019 for the company, with full-year profit up 7.2 per cent to $1.75 billion and comparable sales at its core food segment up 3.1 per cent despite a weak retail outlook and soft results at Big W and the liquor division. The first eight weeks of FY20 were even better at its 1,000-plus network of supermarkets, as Lion King Ooshies collectables helped to drive 7.5 per cent comparable sales growth.

Second quarter sales figures are yet to be finalised.

Shares in Woolworths climbed 1.08 per cent to $337.825 by 1.35pm AEDT on Monday, up 28.54 per cent in 2019.


PHOTOS: Fierce storm leaves trail of destruction

Premium Content PHOTOS: Fierce storm leaves trail of destruction

Did your place get smashed during the wild weather?

‘Big innovation’: Plans for $20M bioenergy plant

Premium Content ‘Big innovation’: Plans for $20M bioenergy plant

The facility would be the first of its kind in Australia

VIRTUAL REALITY: Film fest brings the silver screen to you

Premium Content VIRTUAL REALITY: Film fest brings the silver screen to you

THE Byron Bay Film Festival is bringing the audience closer than ever with their...