Huge changes are coming to Coles as their in-store butcher service gets the chop.

From Sunday, October 10, only pre-packaged meat will be available.

Affected staff will be made redundant or redeployed.

“In June we let our meat team members know we were 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 Coles spokesperson said.

“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.”

However, Coles 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.

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

Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Union (AMIEU) acting Federal Secretary Matt Journeaux referred to the decision as a “shameful move”.

“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 told Queensland Country Life.

“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 cooked a leg of lamb before.”

He added, “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 at Coles will be the service.”

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