FIRST Union, the union representing working people in retail, is criticising Dunedin’s Centre City New World for keeping wages lower than equivalent stores in the North Island.
“Foodstuffs stores in the South Island are paying their workforce up to $2 less per hour than workers in unionised stores in the North Island,” explained FIRST Union Dunedin organiser Shirley Walthew.
Union members and their community supporters are picketing Centre City New World on Saturday from 11am to 1pm in an effort to highlight the wage gap.
“Working people are entitled to a wage they live on. They’re also entitled to some fairness – there’s no excuse for paying South Islanders less than North Islanders. If anything, the cost of running South Island stores like Dunedin are lower than running North Island stores in places like Auckland.”
“This means that the store owner is taking more than his fair share of the money that the workers make,” said Walthew.
In the last financial year Foodstuff’s South Island co-operative made a $362 million gross profit.
The picket is part of several actions taking place across the South Island to highlight how several store owners are refusing to negotiate secure work and living wages for supermarket workers.
On Friday Pak’n Save’s signature “Stickman” protested outside Foodstuffs main office in Christchurch.