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A Petition was set up on Friday calling the Warehouse to ‘do the right thing’ as a good Kiwi company by treating its staff with respect.
The call is for a reversal of the company wanting to take away thousands of hours from people who work for them every week. The Warehouse workers say the company’s restructuring plans would end in losses of income and jobs for affected staff.
62 Warehouse stores around New Zealand would be affected with job hour reductions and a potential loss of jobs.
“The Warehouse prides itself on being a good company. Its annual report says one of its core values is to be here for good and always to do the right thing.”
The petition also says that the Warehouse is a successful, wealthy company and that they can afford to support everyone who works there.
The Warehouse has notified workers, they’ll expect a response from the company on Thursday 17th September regarding ‘Phase 2’ of the company’s restructuring plan. Tali Williams, who is the FIRST Union’s Secretary for Retail and Finance, had something to say about the Warehouse.
“The Warehouse have told us pretty bluntly that this will go one of two ways – either the company will take on board workers’ feedback and immediately halt the rest of the restructure, or they will go ahead – we will find out in 6 days.”
“Workers have consistently raised the same issues with the reductions in instore hours and customer-facing roles, and are frustrated that none of their feedback has been taken on board.”
Warehouse workers who sent feedback was collected by FIRST Union as written submissions on the restructuring proposal. On the submissions, concerns were raised about reductions in hours, losses of income and potential job losses. Floor hours would also be reduced, that will lead to weaker public service and increased incidents of customer dissatisfaction and abuse in stores.
The worst-case scenario would put work colleagues who have served the company for many years competing against each other for the little remaining hours on rosters.
“This is not the time to pit people against each other,” said Ms Williams. “These are people who’ve spent decades of their lives working together in some places, and they would now be made to compete against each other for the same hours – no one really wins.”
“If a crisis shows who you are, the Warehouse are showing us that they think their workers are expendable and the Covid-19 pandemic is a good time to rush through a corporate restructure that they’ve been planning for years.”
“One sad but illuminating example from this process been their response to the idea that some workers would need to take on second jobs if their hours were reduced to this extent – they cautioned that seeking comparable work with competitors like Kmart would come with ‘restrictions’.”
“This really has reached a boiling point due to the shorted timeline for feedback, and while some workers have wanted to go on strike nationally, it’s outside the period of negotiating a new Collective Agreement, and it would be unlawful.”
“Instead, we’re focusing on showing the Warehouse that the public supports having more staff in stores and keeping people in work, especially when the employer is hugely profitable and trading during a global pandemic.”
“As a start, workers are asking for everyone to sign a petition calling for a halt to the process, which they want to present to Warehouse CEO Nick Grayston in person before next Thursday’s verdict is made,” said Tali Williams, who is FIRST Union’s Secretary for Retail and Finance.
You can sign the petition here: https://www.together.org.nz/warehouse-dotherightthing
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