‘People are looking for a safe haven’: How 36,000 people applied for 5,000 shelf-stacking jobs at Coles as the Australian economy teeters on the brink
- Coles is hiring 5,000 workers to stock shelves amid coronavirus panic buying
- The company the job vacancies on Monday and has 36,000 applications
- It comes as thousands of people in the hospitality sector are laid off
More than 36,000 Australians have applied for 5,000 jobs at Coles in just 48 hours.
The company announced the job vacancies on Monday as supermarkets struggle to keep shelves stocked amid coronavirus panic buying.
The casual roles include attendants as well as delivery drivers.
As thousands of jobs are cut by companies reeling from the coronavirus, more than 36,000 people have applied for the positions.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised if they are people working in the hospitality sector, people in bars and cafes that are now shut,’ federal Labor MP Jason Clare told Sky News.
‘People are looking for a safe haven, a place where they know there is going to be a job tomorrow.’
Coles will shut all stores at 8pm every night to restock shelves which have been emptied due to coronavirus panic buying. Pictured: Coles in Waterloo, Sydney
When the jobs were announced, CEO Steven Cain said: ‘Coles is taking all possible steps to improve the level of stock on our shelves for the community.
‘Our team members, suppliers and transport partners have been working as hard as possible delivering more products to stores every day and replenishing shelves of popular products such as toilet paper, long-life pantry staples and healthcare items as quickly as possible.’
It comes after Coles and Woolworths announced huge changes to combat coronavirus panic buying.
Both supermarkets have announced all stores across the country will close at 8pm from Wednesday so staff can re-stock shelves and clean the premises.
They will also only allow the elderly and vulnerable into stores between 7am and 8am.
Coles and Woolworths have announced huge changes to combat coronavirus panic buying
Around 1,000 Woolworths stores will shut at 8pm and re-open at 7am on Thursday. Pictured: Shoppers queue up before opening
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 556
New South Wales: 267
South Australia: 32
Western Australia: 31
Northern Territory: 1
Australian Capital Territory: 3
TOTAL CASES: 556
For Woolworths this started on Tuesday morning and Coles followed from Wednesday morning.
The new policies come after shelves have been left bare as Australians rush to stockpile food in case they catch coronavirus and have to be quarantined for two weeks.
‘We want to slow the panic down,’ Woolworths managing director Claire Peters said.
‘We understand that our customers’ priority is to be prepared, but the vast majority of our food is grown or manufactured in Australia so there is not a concern with supply. What we have is a spike in demand.’
Coles has banned online delivery.
Woolworths has suspended deliveries in Victoria where it has experienced ‘extraordinary’ demand. It is no longer offering the option to pay extra for a two-hour delivery window.
Shelves have been left bare around the country as people rush to stockpile food