‘Why have I been chosen?’: Tears as Target sacks 260 in Geelong

Devastated Target staff pack up and leave. Mary Ramia (right) is one of 260 Target employees made redundant at the head office in Geelong. Photo: Jason South

Sacked Target staff leave the company’s Geelong headquarters. Photo: Jason South

Staff at Target headquarters in Geelong are already walking out the door with boxes of their possessions after being made redundant this morning.

A total of 260 staff have been made redundant after management earlier told the more than 1000 Geelong staff to be at work this morning for an announcement on expected job cuts.

Staff areas where there have been sackings over the course of the morning include contract procurement, marketing, corporate affairs and store design.

Staff know they are to be terminated when they get a meeting request in their inbox.

Among the staff to find out they would be sacked are homewares analyst Mary Ramia, who left the head office in tears this morning with some of her work possessions.

The single mother of two from Geelong said it would be hard to find another position of a similar level in her city, because there were so many others with similar skills sets.

She had worked at Target for two years, and was not sure how she would now support her two children, aged 15 and 20.

“I’ve got a mortgage to pay,” she said, crying. “They don’t care. It’s terrible in there today.”

“At 9.30am I got an email with an appointment for 10.30am, (so I knew) I wasn’t going to have a job after that,” she said. “It was a very long hour.”

She said there were a lot of other people in the office who would lose their jobs today.

Ms Ramia said she had been given the option of staying at work until the end of the month.

“They’ve done all the things they’ve had to do. I understand businesses are in a tough way,” she said, but she still wondered, “why have I been chosen”.

Target managing director Stuart Machin emailed staff on Wednesday morning, telling them the redundancies being announced would mean many people would no longer have roles in the business.

“These changes mean that a number of people here no longer have roles in our business,” the email said.

He said the changes would not be easy for staff, but would put “the business back on a sustainable path to growth”.

He implored staff to “please continue to run the business as usual” in coming days.

There was increased security at the Geelong office early on Wednesday morning as management prepared to deal with media outside the building in the wake of the job cuts announcement.

BusinessDay last week broke the news that Target would sack hundreds of staff at the Geelong corporate support office.

The cuts will add to the southern city’s employment woes; it follows Ford announcing last month that in 2016 it would end production at its Geelong assembly line, which employs more than 500 people.

Shell is also likely to close its Geelong oil refinery, and turn it into a terminal, resulting in hundreds more jobs going.

The Australian Services Union, which represents some staff in the head office, met for several hours with management on Tuesday to discuss redundancy conditions for employees.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the union said it would support members through the process “to ensure that Target complies with the redundancy requirements in the collective agreement”.

“This news will affect every one of our members at Target, not just those who lose their jobs. Staff here are strong, united members who have always looked out for each other. We know the whole Victorian community will feel for these workers today.”

Employees at the Geelong offices on Tuesday night told of the company’s human resources department being “in lockdown”, with workers being told Wednesday was likely to be an upsetting day.

Staff were also told that there was likely to be another briefing for all staff at the nearby Geelong Arena on Friday morning.

The job losses are part of a sweeping review and restructure of the retail chain’s business by Mr Machin, Target’s third boss in two years.

The restructure comes in the wake of a sharp downturn in Target’s sales and profitability.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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