Monday, 7 September 2009

South Island Foodstuffs workers strike over low pay

Media Release: National Distribution Union Thursday September 3 2009. Christchurch and Dunedin supermarkets owned by board members of Foodstuffs South Island are being targeted for protest action today by distribution centre workers who are walking off the job in protest over no progress in their negotiations. The workers say that the company, whose profits continue to rise each year and pays its CEO nearly $1 million a year, should come to the table with a decent wage offer. “The recession is being used to hold back workers from earning a liveable weekly wage,” Paul Watson, Southern Region Secretary for the National Distribution Union said today. “This is despite the South Island cooperative making record profits ($227 million in 2009 up from $222 million in 2008), and NZ Foodstuffs chief executive Tony Carter saying that New Zealand’s supermarket sector trumps any other industry in any other country right now in sales growth and expansion opportunities.” “With South Island Foodstuffs CEO Streve Anderson earning close to a million dollars a year ($910,000-$920,000 the last time salary bands were published) it is time that this prosperous company shared more of its wealth with its workers.” “Foodstuffs distribution centre workers’ low weekly wage is totally unjustified given the company’s dominance and profitability in the supermarket industry – of which they control 57%. Foodstuffs’ main competitor Progressive Enterprises pays a start rate of $5 more per hour for distribution centre workers doing the same work.” “Whilst the company may pay a discretionary bonus each year, they are one offs and the pay increase last year did nothing to bridge the pay gap with Progressive Enterprises workers.” Members at the Foodstuffs DCs in the South Island have this year been in drawn out negotiations because Foodstuffs has refused to increase wages and merit pay steps and make any offer to improve working conditions, Paul Watson said. “It’s time Foodstuffs came back to the table with a respectable offer, and that’s the message their workers will be taking to the public in Christchurch and Dunedin today,” Paul Watson said. Ends. For further comment: Paul Watson, on (021) 618-395. Dunedin contact: Ken Young, on (021) 994-998.

1 comment:

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