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Woolworths workers face massive employment restructuring

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - 2016/07/25: Cash registers inside Woolworths' flagship store pictured as Woolworths revealed 500 jobs will go in back office and supply roles as part of an overhaul of its business amid tough competition in the retail industry on 25 July, 2016. Woolworths also announced that 30 stores will close, including 17 supermarkets in Australia, six supermarkets in New Zealand, four Woolworths metro stores and three hotels. (Photo by Hugh Peterswald/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Cash registers inside Woolworths' flagship store. Image: Getty

Workers at Woolworths are facing the supermarket behemoth’s first restructuring since 2011, as the supermarket looks for ways to refocus the store towards fresh food and convenience.

Staff were told about the changes this week, which are not expected to see any jobs lost.

Two new departments will be created in store: fresh service and fresh convenience. Service will manager the deli, seafood and butcher counters while fresh convenience staff will be charged with managing the pre-packed meat, eggs, dairy and branded bread solutions.

Woolworths said the retraining program would be a $10 million endeavour.

“With customers’ ongoing expectations in fresh, and more shoppers looking for increased convenience, our stores need to deliver the best possible customer experience, every time,” managing director of Woolworths Claire Peters said in a statement.

“We're introducing a new store operating model which will empower our teams to be more customer-focused than ever before.

“For our team members in store, it means more skills, training and opportunities to progress. This is an important next step forward in our Customer 1st and Team 1st strategy.”

Concerns that jobs may be lost

However, according to documents obtained by 7 News, staff who are not successfully redeployed into other roles may face redundancies.

Images of a transition guide reportedly given to staff outline the process for those whose roles are being made redundant.

“We want to keep as many of our team members as possible, so we will support you to find a new role within Woolworths Group - this is called redeployment," page eight of the the guide reads.

“If your role is made redundant, it is not a reflection on you or your performance. A role or job is made redundant, not the person performing it.

"Redundancy occurs where a position is no longer needed due to operational requirements - in this case we are adapting to the change in how and when our customers shop."

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