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Union Taking Woolworths To Fair Work Commission Over Redundancy Fears

Woolworths employees are worried they may be heading for redundancy following the announcement of a company-wide restructure.

The changes -- which supermarket team members were briefed on last week -- will create two new departments called "fresh convenience" and "fresh service".

Fresh Service will manage customer service at the deli, butchery and seafood counters, while Fresh Convenience will manage dairy, eggs, pre-pack meat, branded bread and meal solutions.

Its the first significant change to the company's operating model since 2011 -- but the country's largest retail workers union is not on board.

A general view of a Woolworths store at Double Bay in Sydney. Image: AAP

Earlier this week the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) announced it was taking the supermarket giant to the Fair Work Commission over the new plans, claiming Woolworths did not properly consult the union before moving forward.

"The SDA has serious concerns that the Company failed to properly consult workers and the union and that many of the planned redundancies are not genuine," the union said on Facebook.

“The proposed changes are in no way connected to the new Woolworths Agreement (a new enterprise agreement signed last year) and is not something the SDA had any input into."

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In response to the claims, Woolworths said the company had been "proactive" in consulting with the SDA, including during the pilot program which was rolled out across more than 25 stores in March.

"Under the new model, we’re creating more customer-facing leadership roles to help deliver better service to our customers and to meet their changing shopping needs," a spokesperson told 10 daily in a statement.

"Importantly, the changes will not lead to a net reduction in the overall number of team members we employ in our stores."

Woolworths also said the changes were in compliance with its obligations under the new enterprise agreement and General Retail Industry Award.

Contact the author: vquested@networkten.com.au