BREAKING: David Jones, Country Road Underpaid Workers $3.7m
David Jones and upmarket clothing retailer Country Road have underpaid workers by a total of $3.7 million over a six-year period.
David Jones and Country Road, both owned by South African company Woolworths Holdings (not affiliated with the Australian Woolworths Group), found in an internal audit that 7300 workers across both chains (6200 in David Jones and 1100 in Country Road’s Politix business) had been underpaid, with “integration errors within rostering and payroll systems” identified as the cause of the problem.
Workers at David Jones are owed $1.35 million, with the majority relating to superannuation entitlements. Full back payments including interest will now be paid to all affected workers by mid-October, said interim CEO Ian Moir.
“Our team members should expect to be paid correctly. We deeply regret this has not occurred and apologise unreservedly to our team. We are now focussed on ensuring our team members are paid the money owing to them as quickly as possible,” he said.
The audit was launched in late 2019 after the company identified payment errors during system changes, and the ATO, Fair Work Ombudsman, and the SDA union have been notified. Scott Fyfe, CEO of Country Road, apologised to those impacted and said the company was working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
“The cause of underpayment across the CRG brands was identified as poor systems integration, with the material impact coming from the acquisition of Politix in 2016. We’ve now completed a thorough review of systems and processes and taken the necessary steps across the Group to ensure these errors cannot be repeated.”
The announcement is the latest in a string of bad news for David Jones, with sales down 8.1 per cent year on year, buildings being sold off, and stores closing down.