Coles supermarket has confessed, much like Woolworths last year, that it underpaid some staff members. Yet this has more to do with classifications in pay, rather than anything sinister on Coles’ part. Yet watch the media spin it into a nasty takedown of corporate greed. Politicians, including AG Christian Porter, were making capital out of it – pathetic.
In real terms, it is $20m over 6 years across 1% of its staff. The company made $31bn in revenue and $1.3bn EBIT in the last fiscal year. The unpaid salary amounts to 1.54% of EBIT or 0.06% of revenue. Or over 6 years, around 0.25% and 0.01% respectively. Things may be tough in retail, but we don’t believe for a second that Coles was acting unethically or intentionally.