Union blasts Coles for cutting in-store butchers

Union blasts Coles for cutting in-store butchers

News
Coles meat cuts will be prepared at centralised locations and no longer in store.

Coles meat cuts will be prepared at centralised locations and no longer in store.

Aa

Coles has confirmed it will be ending its in-store butcher service from this weekend.

Aa

Coles has confirmed it will be ending its in-store butcher service from this weekend.

From Sunday only pre-packaged meat will be offered to shoppers.

Almost 1600 meat team members would be offered a redundancy or alternative work, according to the Australian Meat Industry Employers' Union.

Much of the meat in Coles is already sold as retail-ready and prepared off-site, only some beef and lamb was cut and wrapped in store.

"In recent years we have invested in state-of-the-art facilities and worked with supplier partners to produce retail-ready fresh Australian meat of the highest standards for our stores," a Coles spokeswoman said.

"To help us meet the changing needs of our customers, we are aligning our meat operating models nationally in our stores, so that we can consistently deliver high-quality retail ready meat for our customers whenever they want to shop.

"The change will mean our fresh meat range will be supplied to stores as retail-ready products and will not require any preparation to be carried out in-store before being placed on the shelves of our meat fridges for customers to buy.

"We will continue to operate meat counters in a small number of stores

"Prior to making our decision to proceed with these changes, we have engaged in consultation with affected meat team members as well as their union representatives.

"We are working with affected team members to assess potential redeployment and retraining opportunities within Coles."

AMIEU acting federal secretary Matt Journeaux said product knowledge would disappear and workers who had provided decades of loyal service "will be thrown on the scrap heap".

"These workers kept meat on your tables throughout this pandemic and this is how they are treated," Mr Journeaux said.

Coles says it is moving to a "retail-ready" meat model as first mooted in July.

Woolworths has already moved away from having in-store butchers.

The union's Mr Journeaux claimed the Coles move might save money and put more profit in shareholders' pockets but would do little for consistency of product, quality and customer service.

He said butchering was a trade and in-store Coles butchers had completed an apprenticeship and have extensive product knowledge.

"Butchers and meat packers inform customers on the best cut of meat for a particular recipe and how to cook and prepare and handle that meat," he said.

"All that will be gone as Coles will now have its product processed at a third-party facility and will be brought to the store either gas flushed or cryovaced," he said.

"In-store butchers and meat packers will be replaced with a store service representative that may not have ever worked with meat before or for that matter may not have even ever cooked a leg of lamb before.

"When the public seems to want to know more about their food, and prepare their own food, Coles have decided to offer less.

"This is a shameful move that shows Coles cares more about profits than people. The only thing going down down at Coles will be the service," he said.

Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Sign up below to receive our daily Farmonline newsletter.

The story Union blasts Coles for cutting in-store butchers first appeared on Farm Online.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by