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Billion-dollar company takes JobKeeper with one hand and threatens redundancies with the other

Bidfood, an international company and major player in the food-supply industry in Australia, have threatened staff with forced redundancies despite receiving JobKeeper.

Up until now, Bidfood has been taking part in the government JobKeeper scheme for their thousands of employees. However, they have announced forced redundancy plans for over 100 staff to take effect by close of business tomorrow.

In conversations with the union, Bidfood management said the forced redundancy plan is based on an “educated guess that the hospitality industry will take a while to recover and it was better for employees to be on Centrelink than to continue to be employed by the company on JobKeeper.”

United Workers Union Food and Beverage National Director Susie Allison said: “Billion-dollar Bidfood is using this crisis as a cover to cut good, permanent jobs and reduce their labour bill. This is cynical opportunism at its worst.

“CEO Rachel Ruggiero is turfing these workers out whilst the company claims thousands in government subsidies in the JobKeeper program.

“Workers have bent over backwards to make concessions to Bidfood and then they turn around and slash their jobs in the middle of the pandemic.

“Bidfood must immediately retract any plan to force workers to take redundancies and the federal government must act to ensure we don’t see other workers put in this position.

“No worker should be left behind. These workers won’t take this unfair treatment from billion-dollar Bidfood and will be making their voices heard.”

Employees at Bidfood have bent over backwards making concessions to the company including reduced hours, chopping and changing rosters and voluntarily taking annual leave.

Andrew, who has been a Bidfood employee for four years, said: “I have a mortgage, two young kids. My partner works but she’s only on a contract for two more months. If I got made redundant it’d be really stressful.”

“We’ve done a lot to help the company. We’ve let the company change our shifts from night with penalties to day shift. We’ve taken leave without pay, annual leave. Some blokes have used their long service leave, and they’ve turned around and told us they’d be forcing us to take redundancies.

“A lot of people live week to week. They were working night shift to support their families and already lost $200-300 a week moving to day shift. If they lose their job, they won’t have anything.

“We have some guys who want redundancies, but the company wants to pick and choose who gets them. I think I am in the firing line.”

The company made $2.6 billion in revenue in 2019, up 3.7% from last year and employs 2,500 people across Australia.

The Union suggested voluntary redundancies be offered first, however, only one site across the country has offered this.



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