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Supermarket Manager Asks Employees to Accept “Plentiful” Pizza as Payment for Overtime Work

The manager acknowledged it was “a big ask,” but promises their unpaid labor will be worth it, because pizza.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Mar 21 2017, 3:00pm

Photo via Flickr user Iain Farrell

"Will Work for Pizza" is a great slogan for a screenprinted t-shirt. It's also a solid payment plan for a college kid who needs course credit and some extra carbs during a semester-long internship. But that concept doesn't exactly work for grown-ass adults with full-time jobs, a lesson that one Australian grocery store had to learn over the weekend.

On Sunday, a manager at a Coles supermarket posted a letter asking its staffers to work four hours for free so that they could clear "an enormous amount" of stuff out of the store's stockroom. Even though the manager acknowledged it was "a big ask," he swore that it would be totally worth everyone putting in some extra unpaid hours, because PIZZA. "I plan to kick off the evening at 5:30 PM and work through until 9:30 PM," the letter said. "Pizza will be plentiful at 9:30 PM."

Surprisingly, that didn't go over well. According to the NZ Herald, several Coles workers quickly contacted the Western Australia branch of the retail workers union to complain about the proposed arrangement. "As soon as he put that notice on the notice board SDA members started ringing us and we immediately got in contact with the manager and told him this was unacceptable and it would not be allowed," Peter O'Keeffe, the state secretary for the Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers Association told the outlet. "He argued perhaps a little bit but then took the message down."

O'Keeffe said that the SDA also contacted Coles' head office to explain why offering snacks in exchange for several hours of work was not the best practice. Meanwhile, the Coles social media manager has been working overtime (hopefully while being paid in real money, not just pepperoni) to copy and paste a response to customer complaints about the arrangement.

"Coles values the hard work of all of our team members and the notice posted in the store is completely out of step with Coles' way of working," Coles has repeatedly posted in its Facebook comments and in its Twitter replies. "The notice, which was posted by a trainee manager, was quickly removed. Any team members working at the stated time will be paid as normal."

Coles has not commented, but we're guessing that the Trainee Manager's job title may soon be changed to the Former Trainee Manager. Who wants to hand him (or her) one of those "Will Work For Pizza" t-shirts on his way out the door?