The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union is suing Woolworths on behalf of night shift employees who allege they were moved to day shifts without notification.

A Federal Court action has been launched against Woolworths on behalf of around 1400 night shift employees who allege they were moved to day shifts without notice, resulting in a pay cut of up to $30,000 for some affected workers.

The action is being taken by the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) on behalf of workers at more than 100 Woolworths supermarkets in Victoria and Tasmania who allege they were required to change their work hours from overnight to day or evening work in 2021.

The union alleges that the workers weren’t consulted by Woolworths about the changes, and that when they disputed the changes they were “threatened with no pay, sent home and told they must comply with Woolworths’ direction that they work the new rosters”.

According to documents lodged with the court, the union claims that the motivation behind the changes was to enable Woolworths to avoid paying overnight penalty rates and paid meal breaks to the workers.

The RAFFWU also alleges that threats of no pay against workers amount to “unlawful coercion” by Woolworths and that the supermarket giant misrepresented one worker’s rights to

be represented by the RAFFWU.

Lauren Dyer, RAFFWU delegate at Woolworths Lilydale and a co-applicant in Federal Court case said: “My life was turned upside down by Woolworths Group when they told me my roster was changing because they had abolished overnight work.”

RAFFWU secretary Josh Cullinan said: “In the dead of night in April 2021, at the heights of the pandemic, around 1400 workers were dragged into meetings to be told their world was being turned upside down”.

“There was no warning,” he said. “The reward for a year of working in the pandemic was for these workers to have massive cuts in their pay and for their overnight work to be switched to day or evening work.”

“This landmark action holds Woolworths Group to account for these attacks on workers.”

“We are seeking proper compensation for all affected workers, including the tens of thousands of dollars a year some workers have lost as a result of the changes.”

Woolworths has been contacted for comment.

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