Weekly News Wrap: Indian salesmen protest against Reliance; Australia’s Coles Group sued over underpayment of staff

And China’s state-owned paper rebukes Canada Goose over alleged consumer law violation.

From Reuters:

India's household goods salesmen have threatened to disrupt supplies to mom-and-pop stores if consumer companies provide products at lower prices to Reliance Industries, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

Reuters reported last month Indian salesmen representing companies such as Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive said their sales had dropped 20-25% in the last year as mom-and-pop stores were increasingly partnering with Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance.

Ambani's deeply discounted offerings were prompting more stores to order digitally from his JioMart Partner app, posing an existential threat to more than 450,000 company salesmen who for decades served every corner of the vast nation by going store-to-store to take orders.

Citing the Reuters story, the All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation - which has 400,000 members - has written to consumer companies demanding a level playing field, saying they must get products at same prices like other big corporate distributors such as Reliance.

If the pricing-parity demand is not met, the group said in its letter, its salesmen will stop distribution of products to mom-and-pop stores, and will also not supply newly launched consumer goods if such partnerships continue beyond Jan 1.

Read more here.



From Reuters:

Australia-based grocery chain Coles Group is being sued by the country's industrial relations watchdog for underpaying staff over three years, the parties said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) alleged that Coles underpaid 7,812 employees by $81.99m (A$115.2m) from January 2017 to March 2020. Underpayments ranged from insufficient annual salaries to cover for the overtime work done by its workers and also "significantly underestimated" amounts under the company's remediation programme.

More than $75.67m (A$108m) was the outstanding amount under the remediation programme, the FWO said, adding that the company also failed to keep proper records of employees' overtime hours.

The FWO was seeking penalties against Coles in the Federal Court for multiple alleged breach of workplace laws, with penalties of up to $44143.15 (A$63,000) per breach.

Read more here.



From Bloomberg:

China’s state-run People’s Daily newspaper warned that Canada Goose Holdings may have violated Chinese consumer law, a sign the clothing company may be facing a difficult period in the world’s No. 2 economy.

The newspaper said on a social media account that the Toronto-based cold weather outfitter used a “discriminative” return policy in China, adding that Canada Goose and other foreign brands must provide quality products and services to the nation’s consumers.

“For Canada Goose, which has more stores in China than in its home market, it’s very ugly to discriminate against Chinese consumers while enjoying sales here,” the commentary said. “If you want to enjoy the market’s growth, please spend your efforts providing good products and services, otherwise you’ll lose consumers’ trust and be abandoned by the market.”

Canada Goose is the latest foreign company to be criticised by China’s state media, which often leads to sliding local sales and apologies from executives.

Read more here.



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