Coles is considering a pretty massive restructure of their meat department, which could mean that over 1500 Coles meat employees could lose their jobs.

The restructure would allow for meat to be delivered already cut, rather than this step being done in store.

The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union is trying to stop the change.

“They want to get rid of the whole lock, stock and barrel,” the union’s Victorian secretary Paul Conway said.

“All meat managers, all butchers, all slicers and the others that do packing and stocking shelves.”

As part of the restructure, Coles has proposed that 37 stores across the country would have serveries. The union has said that it is possible that workers would be offered a job in one of these serveries where possible – or redundancies.

Coles hasn’t made a decision on the proposal yet, but is considering their customers needs.

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“We are considering a proposal to align 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,” a spokesman said.

“Under the proposal, our fresh meat range would be supplied to stores as retail-ready products and would not require any preparation to be carried out in-store before being placed on the shelves of our meat fridges for customers to buy.”

“If a decision is made to proceed with the proposal, we will work with affected team members to assess potential redeployment and retraining opportunities within Coles,” he said.

Mr Conway, from the union has said it would be difficult for butchers to find jobs elsewhere.

“Both Woolworths and Coles have been whittling away the role of a shop butcher — they don’t have bandsaws, they don’t have mincing any longer,” he said.

“Woolworths had made a decision some time ago to go retail ready and Coles are now following suit.”

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