Tuesday, 18 June 2020
I am bitterly disappointed and angered by the news today that the Woolworths Group will close its Armidale Big W store in January next year.
This decision directly impacts the lives of the 47 locals employed at the store and their families. It’s also yet another blow to the local community and economy, after a draining two years of drought and bushfire disasters and a pandemic.
I was in Big W this morning, shortly after the announcement, to convey my sympathy and offer support to the store’s staff and management. Understandably, they are incredibly upset and worried about their futures.
Losing your job is stressful at the best of times, but to be given the news in the current economic climate is devastating. My thoughts are with all the staff and their families during this very difficult time.
While the company has stated publicly it will support the staff and assist them into other job opportunities, I have today written to Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci requesting written assurances that he will do everything within his power to find the 47 Armidale staff new jobs within the company or elsewhere.
After many years of loyal service as Big W employees, it’s the least Mr Banducci owes them.
As an aside, the closure of our local store is particularly galling for the community when the Woolworths Group posted an almost $1 billion profit last year and paid out more than $3 billion in dividends to its shareholders.