Woolworths is hiring 20,000 more workers, offering mostly casual, temporary positions to retail and airline staff who have lost their jobs

Woolworths is hiring more people. (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)
  • Woolworths is hiring 20,000 workers to help retail staff and Qantas employees who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Most of the positions will be casual.
  • Woolworths’ hiring drive came after Coles announced it would hire 5,000 more workers around Australia.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Woolworths is hiring 20,000 more staff to support retail and airline industry workers who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak.

The new staff will be hired across its supermarkets, e-commerce, supply chain and drinks business over the next month.

“These new roles will not only help us better serve the increase in demand we’re seeing in stores right now, but also allow us to scale up home delivery operations in the months ahead,” Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said in a statement.

It comes after thousands of Australians lost their jobs following amid the coronavirus pandemic. The spread of the virus led the federal government to implement social distancing measures, travel restrictions and closures of businesses such as pubs, clubs and cinemas.

As a result, several retailers including Michael Hill, Just Jeans, Tigerlily, The Athlete’s Foot and Noni B closed their stores and stood down staff. And with the travel restrictions, Qantas stood down around 20,000 staff and Virgin Australia temporarily let go of 8,000 workers.

Banducci said the company’s main focus is the redeployment of ALH Group team members who have been impacted by the government’s hotel closure announcements. ALH Group operates more than 300 licensed venues around Australia. He added that Woolworths has already placed around 3,000 of these workers into new roles across BWS, Dan Murphy’s and Woolworths supermarkets.

On top of that, Woolies is taking on Qantas staff and retail workers who have recently lost their jobs, from businesses such as Village Entertainment, Michael Hill Jewellers and Accor. The company is looking to make “thousands of short-term roles available” to them.

“We’re also preparing to offer up to 5,000 short-term roles to Qantas Group employees taking leave without pay, including more than 1,500 in our distribution centres,” Banducci said.

Most of the new roles will be casual and for those on leave without pay at other companies, Woolies will offer short-term contracts.

“We’re working with a number of customer-focused businesses impacted by recent government measures to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Banducci said. “We’re hopeful these businesses will bounce back strongly once this crisis passes, and we want to do our bit to help them – and their people – get through the short-term challenge.”

Woolworths’ move comes after Coles announced it would hire 5,000 additional casual staff across Australia to restock shelves and serve more customers.

Coles is also implementing new measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus such as extra cleaning of high contact areas like trolleys, baskets and checkout areas. The company will also ask customers to pack their own bags and is recommending they pay by card instead of cash.


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