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Woolworths' CEO is taking a $2.6 million pay cut this year, following revelations the company underpaid 5,700 workers

Sharon Masige
  • Woolworths Group Chairman Gordon Cairns and CEO Brad Banducci have agreed to take pay cuts after the company found it had underpaid around 5,700 workers.
  • Banducci will not receive his $2.6 million bonus, while Cairns is taking a 20% cut to his board fee for the 2020 financial year.
  • The executives said their main priority now is to make sure staff get their money back as soon as possible.
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Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci and Chairman Gordon Cairns are taking a pay cut following the wage scandal that rocked the company.

In October, Woolworths found that it had underpaid around 5,700 workers and estimated that it owed as much as $300 million.

“As a business, we pride ourselves on putting our team first, and in this case, we have let them down. We unreservedly apologise," CEO Brad Banducci said in a statement at the time. "The highest priority for Woolworths Group right now is to address this issue and to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Now it looks like Woolies is taking action following the discovery, with both Banducci and Cairns "acknowledging their leadership responsibility" in the issue and taking a pay cut.

In a statement, Banducci said he "made the personal decision" to give up his $2.6 million target short-term bonus for the 2020 financial year because "I believe it is the right thing for me to do as CEO.”

Cairns on the other hand, opted to take a 20% cut in his board fee for the 2020 financial year.

“I accept that, as the Chairman of the Board, I have a higher level of responsibility than my board colleagues and therefore have decided to take a 20% reduction in my Board fee for F20,” Cairns said.

In a joint statement Banducci and Cairns said their main focus is to make sure the workers get their money back.

“As a Group, we have let many of our salaried team members down. And our priority right now is to ensure that they receive the money they are owed as quickly as possible.”

Woolies plans to complete a review into the issue by the end of the year. After that, it said "further consequences will be considered by the board".

Woolies joins a string of companies that have been caught underpaying staff including Sunglass Hut and Commonwealth Bank.

There are also a number of restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs that have come under fire for underpaying staff, including those owned by former Masterchef judge George Calombaris.