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Progressive forced to suspend distrib'n centre ops

Media Statement
28 August 2006

Statement from Progressive Enterprises Ltd (PEL)

Progressive forced to suspend grocery distribution centre operations to ensure business as usual at stores

PEL is suspending grocery distribution centre operations indefinitely to ensure the continued supply of grocery products to customers of Foodtown, Woolworths and Countdown supermarkets.

Meeting the everyday shopping needs of New Zealand customers and keeping our stores well stocked is a priority for us. Unfortunately, the industrial action at our distribution centres prevents us from supplying our stores with grocery goods via these centres.

Therefore we have been forced to suspend operations at the centres and implement an alternative supply chain.

We would prefer to keep the distribution centres open but we cannot meet unreasonable union demands for what in effect is a 30 per cent wage increase.

These unrealistic union demands, if agreed to, would threaten the livelihoods of our staff, our suppliers and our very business and set a dangerous precedent for New Zealand business.

The alternative arrangements with our major suppliers include delivery of grocery goods to all Foodtown, Woolworths, Countdown, Fresh Choice and Super Value stores. All fresh products (fruit and vegetables, meat, bakery, milk) and chilled, frozen products remain totally unaffected and are delivered fresh daily.

PEL is seeking urgent mediation to find a fast resolution and to ensure the union demands for less than three per cent of our staff don’t threaten the job security of our entire 18,000-plus workforce. We are always prepared to negotiate but not until striking staff return to work.

The supermarket industry is extremely competitive and under increasing price pressure, from fuel price hikes and a low dollar. We pay market rates and ensure our wages and wage increases are fair and sustainable.

At Progressive, we remain committed to delivering the lowest prices possible. This means we pay particular attention to ALL costs within our business, so that we are able to remain competitive.

Our customers can rest assured that PEL will continue to strive to provide a high standard of service during the union’s strike at our grocery distribution centres.

Marty Hamnett
Managing Director
Progressive Enterprises Ltd


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