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Workers to picket high-end North Shore supermarket for wages they can live on

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Union members are taking action outside New World Albany today (Sunday 3rd March 2pm) to stand up for wages they can live on.

Currently wages at the successful high-end supermarket are some of the lowest of all unionised Foodstuffs supermarkets in Auckland (New World and Pak N' Save). Bargaining broke down several weeks ago with the company not budging from its first and only offer.

FIRST Union Organiser, Robin Wilson-Whiting says the supermarket is at the bottom of the bunch when it comes to pay.

"The current pay rates are absolutely trailing the other Foodstuffs collective agreements in Auckland and when we consider that it’s a high-end supermarket in a wealthy suburb and workers aren’t able to meet living costs... it really doesn’t look good."

She says union members will be raising awareness with the public of the employment issues with their local supermarket.

"Union members at New World Albany are calling on Owner/Operator Jamie Eden to pay a Living Wage that means his employees can participate fully in society and meet rising living costs."

She adds the employer is favouring non-union members and undermining bargaining in an attempt to break union members.

"The tactics undertaken within the workplace while negotiations are occurring have been less than ideal so employees will be on the roadside expressing their frustration."

One worker, when asked about what the Living Wage would mean to them said, "I'm not sure I could describe how happy and relieved I would be to earn the Living Wage."

Others commented that to earn a Living Wage would enable them to have more independence from family, contribute to living costs, and allow their families to pursue long-held plans.

And one regarding the negotiation process, "It looks like New World Albany management are doing everything in their power to avoid negotiating with their workers."

Despite high employment, finding another job is also of concern, "Pay is an issue with the entire retail sector, it's not easy to just go find another job".

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