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Union pickets Foodstuff’s Christchurch headquarters after workers turn to charities for food

Date of Release: 
Friday, August 5, 2016

The union representing working people in Pak’n Save and New World stores is picketing Foodstuff’s South Island CEO Steve Anderson after learning that some South Island supermarket workers are turning to charities for help feeding their families.

FIRST Union national organiser Bill Bradford says Foodstuff’s store owners in the South Island run a business model that keeps wages and working conditions at a minimum.

“Foodstuffs supermarkets are making eye-watering profits, but we’re hearing from workers in the stores that they’re short of money for food and turning to charities for food parcels.”

“This is a cruel irony, supermarket workers who are can’t even afford the products they sell.”

“It’s an unethical way to run a business,” says Bradford.  

“What gets me is how store owners refuse to be honest about low pay. They go through charades like reviewing pay and linking it to performance, but at the end of the day most supermarket workers still end up close to the minimum wage.”

Bradford says this situation sits in stark contrast with unionised Foodstuffs stores in the North Island.

“In unionised stores pay rates are up to $2 per hour higher than pay rates in South Island stores,” says Bradford.

“Workers in some stores get up to eight days sick leave, long service leave and have redundancy compensation clauses in their agreements.”

“Our union is taking legal action in an effort to make South Island stores bargain in good faith, but we’re also calling on customers to help Foodstuffs workers in the South Island feed their families by letting the company know that its workforce deserves more.”

Pak’n Save’s signature “Stickman” will be supporting the union picket.

 

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