Kmart workers win living wages
K Mart workers who are members of FIRST Union have achieved a living wage offer through their collective agreement negotiations.
FIRST Union secretary, Tali Williams is leading the Worth It campaign to achieve a living wage for retail workers. “K Mart is an example of a retail employer who has agreed to offer living wages, proving that it can be done and it’s the right thing to do,” she said.
The offer means all workers with 12 months experience or more would be paid at least $20.55 and this would increase further to $21.15 in April next year.
Hayley Allen is a K Mart retail worker from Christchurch who was a part of the bargaining team that achieved the settlement. She said “I’m so excited to go back to our members with a living wage settlement. It will change people’s lives so that they can meet their basic needs and enjoy family life.”
Last year FIRST Union achieved a living wage for workers at Bunnings Warehouse stores as a part of it’s Worth It campaign “Major retailers in New Zealand are beginning to acknowledge the importance of paying decent wages for the skilled work that their employees do and our membership is becoming bolder in their fight for fair wages.”
The deal also includes the conversion of labour-hire staff to permanent positions at the Kmart distribution centre after a maximum period of 6 months. “Decent work is about fair wages but it’s also about job security” said Ms Williams. “the conversion rights won for the labour-hire workers to permanent, direct employment is a hugely positive change for the over 100 labour-hire staff currently working in the distribution centre.”
Members will vote on the offer over the coming weeks.