Strikes at Bunnings and The Warehouse


FIRST Union is currently overseeing strike action at Bunnings Mount Maunganui and The Warehouse Rotorua.

Workers at Bunnings Mount Maunganui walked off their job yesterday afternoon after learning that the company is proposing a change which will remove the right to determine their start and finish times, says FIRST Union retail and finance secretary, Maxine Gay.

“While most companies are scrambling to remove this sort of insecure work model, Bunnings is taking off in the other direction,” she explains.

“Under our current collective agreement Bunnings can only alter start and finish times under mutual agreement with the worker, but now the company is trying to remove mutual agreement and insert a clause that will allow management to chop and change those times at will.

“This means that a worker might be guaranteed 40 hours per fortnight, but then find that start and finish times chop and change. One week it might be Monday to Thursday and the next week it could be Thursday to Sunday.

“This is the sort of work model that the country has rejected, but Bunnings is trying to introduce it by stealth. Workers need certainty.

“Bunnings workers will resist any effort to impose insecure hours. More strikes are sure to follow.”

The Warehouse has of late contended with strikes at The Warehouse Manukau, Blenhein and New Lynn. Yesterday workers at The Warehouse Rotorua walked off the job in the afternoon according to FIRST Union organiser, Dennis Maga.

“Warehouse workers across the country are rejecting the company’s offer of a 30 and 31 cent wage increase. Several stores have even voted for strike action,” he says.

“Farmers is lifting wages for its workers by 70 to 80 cents. The Warehouse is fast falling behind other large retail chains.

“While the Warehouse touts its Career Retailer Wage (CRW), the reality is that not all workers receive it. You need to clock 5000 hours or five years’ service before qualifying.

“Warehouse workers are calling on the management team to live up to its own rhetoric. They claim the CRW was inspired by the living wage, yet the CRW remains below the living wage level of $19.25.

“Prosperity for the company shouldn’t mean austerity for the workers. The Warehouse posted a comfortable profit last year after recording revenue of over $1 billion. The workers who create the profits deserve a greater share.”

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