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Supermarket giant Woolworths has revealed it underpaid almost 6000 of its employees for nearly a decade.

Woolworths joins Michael Hill, Caltex, Spotless, 7-Eleven, Bunnings, Biada, Wesfarmers, Qantas, Commonwealth Bank, George Calombaris, Pizza Hut, Super Retail Group, Rockpool Dining Group, Hungry Jacks, Subway, Touchpoint Media and many others in failing to ensure that staff are receiving their lawful entitlements.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Woolworths said it discovered thousands of salaried staff across its supermarkets and Metro stores had not been paid in accordance with their legal obligations under the General Retail Industry Award.

Woolworths said the underpayments emerged when the implementation of a new enterprise agreement highlighted “an inconsistency in pay” under the old agreement for some workers.

The retail giant has estimated the one-off impact of the underpayment could be in the range of $200 million to $300 million before tax, given that the issue goes back as far as 2010.

Woolworth’s has promised that past and present staff who were underpaid would receive their full entitlements, including back pay with interest and superannuation.

“We unreservedly apologise,” Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said.

“The highest priority for Woolworths Group right now is to address this issue, and to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”


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