The Warehouse responds to Dennis Maga

the warehouse2Julia Morton, head of PR and media at The Warehouse, has responded to FIRST Union organiser Dennis Maga’s statements pertaining to The Warehouse Manukau’s wildcat strike from 1430 to 1630 on Thursday outside its premises.

According to Maga, the workers rejected the company’s offer of a 30 cents wage increase.

“If workers accept the offer of a 30 cents wage increase then that would only lift the lowest pay rate to $15.32 – nowhere near the levels needed to support a family in Auckland. Workers were so insulted with the 30 cents offer that they voted to undertake a wildcat strike,” said Maga.

He added that The Warehouse markets itself as good employer, but its wage offer means that the majority of staff will be kept at minimum wage levels.

Morton responded by saying that approximately one in 20 of The Warehouse’s workforce is affected by the hourly pay rates in the scope of this negotiation.

“This is a very small proportion of the total Red Sheds team of about 8,500 people,” she pointed out.

“The Warehouse has been bargaining with First Union for the past six weeks and an agreement had been reached on all 24 claims under negotiation bar one claim. That one claim is regarding a second year offer, for August 2016, of a difference of $0.08 an hour per person between our respective positions.

“The reason such a small number of The Warehouse team are affected by this negotiation is that the majority of The Warehouse team are covered by the Career Retailer Wage program. The Career Retailer Wage was initiated by The Warehouse Group, with no union involvement in the decision, and has meant team members’ pay rates have increased from between $15.50-$17.85 an hour to $18.31-$20.03 an hour – rises of around 17 per cent over the past two years. This is industry leading and at the time the union applauded us for the initiative.

“The increase from $15.02 per hour to $15.32 referred to in First Union’s media release is highly misleading. This rate only currently applies to 13 team members nationwide (0.14 per cent of our team) and only for the first three months of their employment with The Warehouse based on entry-level skills.

“It is still above the current minimum wage of $14.75 per hour.”

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