Coles’ trolleys hit the news

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 5th June 2012

Coles’ trolleys are in the news for opposite reasons. First, the bad news for Coles:

Coles to be fined

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched a prosecution against Coles, and three individual employers, alleging that six trolley collectors were underpaid almost $150,000.

The alleged individual employers are Ayam Rahmah Al Basry, a sole trader; Nidal Albarouki, owner of trolley collecting companies Starlink International Group Pty Ltd and Starlink Operations Group Pyt Ltd; and, Louis Ferriere, general manager of both Starlink companies. The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that all respondents knew they were undercutting minimum wage rights.

The trolley collectors, Indian males aged from 27 – 33 who spoke limited English, were allegedly underpaid between January 2010 and July 2011 while working in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. They allegedly received approximately $8 an hour for all hours worked, should have been paid more than $15 an hour for normal hours of work and up to $34 an hour for some overtime, weekend and public holiday work. Allegedly, three of the six trolley collectors regularly worked more than 70 hours of work per week.

A representative from Coles has stated that the company will deny all allegations.

Now the good news from Coles…

 Hi-tech sensors to prevent trolley-dumping

Coles is testing a system across 30 supermarkets in which sensors force a computerised lock on the trolley wheel when it passes a particular boundary.

This is in response to fines from municipalities such as Boroondara Council in the Camberwell area of Melbourne’s eastern suburbia.

Boroondara Council has introduced fines of up to $2500 for supermarkets which allow their trolleys to be dumped. To target the growing problem of abandoned trolleys, the council is demanding retailers fit trolleys with a sensor device that stops them being removed from a designated area.

Conclusion

News stories about supermarket trolleys are a growing trend. Australian Food News reported on some other developments occurring elsewhere in Australia earlier this year.

With concerns about high costs of maintenance and collection, new technologies are being examined for potential solutions.