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Pickets to form at Farmers stores

Striking protestor

The ongoing strike action at department store Farmers continues to worsen, with picket lines planned and employees undertaking a ‘work to rule’ method of protest.

‘Work to rule’ is achieved when staff follow workplace rules, working times, and procedures to the tee with the intention of reducing the overall effectiveness of a business.

The action continues as a result of Farmers’ performance-based pay system, with First Union leading the charge against the remuneration method.

“First Union members are understandably offended by it,” First Union divisional secretary Tali Williams said in a statement.

“We have had union members who have won sales awards, employee of the month awards and every possible accolade only to be graded down to a ‘C’ rating. This year 70 per cent of workers were graded a ‘C’.

“Receiving a low grade to keep the wage bill down is as inevitable as the sunrise at Farmers Department Stores and our members are sick of it.”

Farmers’ chief financial officer Michael Power told New Zealand Apparel that the business doesn’t agree with what has been said by the union about Farmers, and finds the use of the letter ‘F’ and the slogan adopted during the campaign to be “particularly offensive.”

“We are very disappointed that First Union is taking this action, particularly as we are currently arranging mediation, to which the Union has agreed, to assist us in breaking the current impasse,” Power told New Zealand Apparel.

“Having said that, we do not intend to embark on a dialogue with the Union through the media and remain committed to bargaining direct with the Union in good faith.”

Inside Retail has contacted Farmers for further comment.

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