Bunnings strike action gains momentum nationwide

BunningsOver 100 Bunnings workers in the Wellington, Manawatu and Gisborne regions striked on Friday. This followed a national strike on the prior Wednesday where over 400 workers from the upper and central North Island and the South Island went on strike for the day.

Workers numbers 50 picketed outside Bunnings Porirua from 1315 to 1415 and 25 workers picketed outside Bunnings Gisborne from 1330 to 1430 on Friday.

Bunnings workers from seven stores in the Wellington, Manawatu and Gisborne regions effectively walked off the job in protest at their employer’s refusal to compromise on rostering, said FIRST Union spokesperson, Morgan Godfery.

“Bunnings workers are sending a very clear message: they want a fair say over their rosters,” he added.

“Under the current agreement rosters can only be changed when both sides agree; that means fair give and take between managers and workers. But Bunnings CEO Jacqui Coombes wants to hand managers the power to simply impose rosters on the workforce.

“This means rosters could chop and change with very little notice.

“How are the mothers and fathers who work at Bunnings meant to plan for things like childcare when they won’t know what times and days they’ll be asked to work?

“Bunnings workers aren’t numbers on a spreadsheet; they’re people who deserve the right to plan a life outside of work.”

Bunnings responded by saying it remains completely committed to providing an environment in which its team feels valued, respected and rewarded for the great job that they do.

It said it has put forward an industry-leading proposal that is available equally to all team members, whether they choose to have an individual employment agreement or are part of the collective agreement, in which they are represented by FIRST Union.

Bunnings employs over 3,700 team members in New Zealand, the vast majority of whom have chosen to accept, on an individual basis, the proposal that has been put forward.

“It was unfortunate that a very small number of our team members felt the need to take action this week, whilst we continue to proactively pursue negotiations with FIRST Union,” said a Bunnings spokesperson.

“Bunnings’ offer will guarantee a minimum hourly pay rate of $17.50, meaning Bunnings team members will receive an absolute minimum increase of four per cent this year, with a further guaranteed minimum of two per cent to be paid next year.

“Bunnings stores are generally open seven days a week, with trading hours that start at 0700 and on the whole run through to 1900, so flexibility for our team to be there for our customers is key.

“Contrary to speculative and misleading comments, Bunnings is wholeheartedly committed to supporting the needs of our team and providing a healthy work/life balance – we have no intention of making wholesale changes to individual team member rosters.

“If the need for a change does occur, this will be done in full consultation with the team member with at least four weeks advance notice given to ensure that any significant commitments, such as family responsibilities, can be raised and taken into account.

“Put simply, we do not and will not flagrantly ‘chop and change’ team member hours or rosters.”

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