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Woolworths – what about the workers?


When Woolworths announced the closure of its 815 outlets at the end of December, Britain mourned the fall of a century old, cosy family favourite. Volunteers reveal how two Woolworths workers in London were treated and what Brown’s talk of providing support and training amounted to.

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Related topics: Economy, Social Change

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mouthpiece said:

It is a shame that the workers of Woolworth’s had to find out that their jobs had ended that way.One would have thought that they would have been informed when the company started experiencing some of its difficulties.It is also very appalling they way they were let go despite putting so many years of work into the company.

ready2do said:

Woolworths’ managers seem to have known some time ago that the company was in serious trouble yet the staff only found that out very late in the day through the media. With management like that is it any wonder that the stores group went under?

snejanka said:

I agree that working people should demand to be treated better by their employers, and should be even made part of the decision making process. That of course could be achieved only by standing up for your rights, and refusing to pay for the mistakes of others.

alexjorden said:

It’s interesting to hear about these experiences and it points to a lack of sensitivity from Woolworths management towards long-serving staff. However it doesn’t seem like the Woolworths workers knew much about what they might have been entitled to or whether they might have been able to campaign … this perhaps raises the need for the circulation of more information about employment law and the rights of employees in these situations.

andrew2544 said:

In different times the Woolworths workers would have perhaps stuck together for a better deal or made more of a fuss. These days there’s a pervasive sense of helplessness and passivity. Confirmation that there’s no politics at the moment and that we need some.

CheekTV said:

My aunt was a manager and she 1st found out via the news!

muchi said:

And now there is Wellworth

SarahMate... said:

It’s usefull to listen to Natella and Samuel who were sacked at Woolworth because it helps understanding what means “recession”, “credit crunch”, “economic downturn”, “turmoil” (all these abstract words we read everyday)

mariaber... said:

Pauleen seems on the surface of things to be making a commonsense point but I think is wrong. Worker’s should base their concerns on their needs NOT on the account books of a company. We should have learned by now that throughout history whenever worker’s tie their interest to that of their employer’s profitability or lack of it, it is a slippery slope to accepting pay cuts, job losses and so on. In the recession this may sound hard but is more important than ever. So if Woolworth’s workers had put up a fight and called on people to support them it may well have forced Woolies to find the means to provide jobs or good compensation.

pauleen said:

It is a good question.
The government should think about new laws to protect workers in case of lay-off. The company has to communicate the financial statement to their workers, and warn them if they have difficulties

johnpaul21 said:

The problem is we see everything in terms of consumers these days so maggiemay says she would not have shopped at Woolworths had she known how the workers were treated but the things is, the clout we have is not in our shopping trolleys or just in our purse its not as shoppers but as citizens, that means making a political noise, demanding a different course of action and so on…

maggiemay said:

If I knew then what I know now about the way Woolies treated their staff, I wouldn’t have shopped there in the first place, and hopefully neither would many others. Shameful.
I do agree that the people interviewed didn’t show their anger, but maybe they were still in shock!

mariaber... said:

Yes a revealing but hardly surprising take on the so called good old family firm the real problem would seem to be there is no stomach for a fight for jobs although there is a nostalgia industry for shops like woolies that were never that great and paid crap wages anyway… I do wish the subjects were a bit more angry but thats about a bolder politics being required I suppose and can’t be wished into being.

Helder said:

I found the Woolworths Clip to be very interesting given the economic climate that we are in, to an extent i believe that i could relate to how the employees felt. I work in a mobile phone shop and at the moment there are drastic changes that are taking place within the company in order for it survive and i beleive at any moment i could lose my job.

Tamla Campbell said:

I thought that the points and issues discussed in the woolworths piece were very interesting and relevant given the current circumstances. I thought that the interview was conducted well together with the response given. I hope to see some more stuff in the future