Pak ‘n Save workers strike

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About ten union workers responsible for filling shelves at the Richmond Pak’nSave have walked off the job this morning, upset at a break-down in pay negotiations.

The striking workers were from the morning fill, bakery and butchery teams and made up about half of the total team working to stock the shelves at Pak ‘n Save this morning.

Nelson-based FIRST Union organiser Rachel Boyack says the union has been trying to negotiate a collective agreement since November last year at the region’s largest supermarket but the owner refuses to bargain over pay rates which are a fundamental part of any collective agreement.

“Workers at Pak’nSave Richmond are paid around $2 less than workers at Countdown supermarkets in Nelson and Pak’nSave workers in the North Island. The excuse given by the owner is that South Island workers should not be paid as much as those in the North Island because it is a different market.

“Workers also have no security over their hours of work and Pak’nSave Richmond have refused to acknowledge the impact this has on a worker and their family.”

Rachel says that the morning fill workers are responsible for filling the shelves every morning and that the industrial action will cause “chaos” at the store before the busy Easter trading period.

“These workers work extremely hard to get the shop ready for trading at 8am every morning. The owner is refusing to recognise their hard work and the excuses given are starting to wear thin.”

Morning fill worker Cam Scott says that he and his fellow workers are frustrated at the supermarket’s disregard for their wellbeing and refusal to listen to their concerns raised at bargaining.

“We’re not being treated with respect or not even as human beings, just as numbers. There is a very obvious lack of respect.”

He says the reaction from non-union staff was mixed. “Some were supportive and others were unsupportive. There were a couple of murmurings from one or two people and the only manager there looked pretty shocked.”

Cam says each isle has about six pallets of stock to unpack and stock on the shelves. By half of the team walking out he doubted they’d be able to get the shelves full before the store opened.