International beauty business Lush has told staff in Auckland it will need to stand them down, and that it is not in a financial position to pay minimum hours during the lockdown.
The business told staff in a letter that it is ineligible for the Government’s wage subsidy program, but that if they wished to utilise their accrued leave balances to remain paid, they could.
Staff were given until Wednesday to respond, though this consultation period was extended to Thursday.
“Covid-19 restrictions have placed significant pressure on our business,” Lush Australia and New Zealand director Mark Lincoln told Inside Retail.
“Since the implilmentation of the restrictions our revenues have declined significantly, though not to a level which would qualify Lush for wage subsidy support in New Zealand.
“These are challenging times for all businesses, and the wellbeing of our staff is, as always, paramount.”
First Union retail secretary Tali Willliams said for an international business that prides itself on being ethical, the union expected better.
“Employees need to focus on the wellbeing of workers over profits during the Covid-19 crisis,” Williams told Stuff.
“These workers have been loyal, and they are just trying to pay their rent, keep food on the table.”
Lush spokesperson Sonia Chiarelli said the final decision would come at the end of the consultation period, which is due to end on Thursday evening, but that the business is endeavouring to move staff to other areas of the business wherever possible.
The Level 3 lockdown is scheduled to end on August 26.
This story has been updated to reflect comments supplied by Lush.