Coles backs up appreciation with cash payments to staff

Coles workers who endured gruelling shifts, stressed customers and daily threats of contracting the deadly coronavirus are now being financially rewarded as Coles corporate announced a “thank you” payment for all staff, whether permanent, part-time or casual.

At Tumut’s Coles, that means 85 staff members will be receiving between $100-$750, depending on their employment category.

“They’ve been recognised for some outstanding work during the panic time,” said Coles Manager Jane Barton.

Even casual staff employed after March 1 qualify for the lower end of the payments.

Ms Barton declined to share or confirm any figures, but said staff were “very happy, of course.

“It’s very pleasing for them. They’ve all come to work and risked their lives and left people at home and it’s good the business has recognised that.”

Coles staff have also been receiving a double discount on store purchases during the pandemic.

The Coles payment announcement comes two weeks after the retail workers’ union ‘SDA’ announced Woolworths had committed to a ‘recognition payment’ for employees. The details of the Woolworths payment haven’t yet been made public.

Both Woolies and Coles have lifted buying limits on their products since panic buying has slowed and most items are now reliably stocked.

Ms Barton said other than hand sanitiser, most items are “relatively back to normal.

“We’re still very busy,” she said, “We’ve kept our customer flow.”

At both supermarkets, sanitiser stations and transparent screens are installed around the checkouts, with constant cleaning of self-checkout stations.

“I think they’re part of our future,” said Ms Barton. “Even without coronavirus, you think how many people are coughing or sneezing.

“The screens are good and the staff like them. It’s just become a way of life now.”

The Coles appreciation payments will be distributed to staff across the country during the week starting May 25.