Dear PAK’n’SAVE Henderson: Your staff are not being demolished with the building
In an increasingly disrespectful display to staff, PAK’n’SAVE’s Alderman Drive store in Henderson, Auckland, is still refusing to negotiate a new Collective Agreement with more than one hundred FIRST Union members on site despite the building being due for demolition in October 2019, FIRST Union said today.
FIRST Union is calling on the franchise’s manager, Rayner Bonnington, to negotiate a new Collective Agreement in good faith and provide certainty and financial security for long-serving and dedicated workers at the supermarket, some of whom have been employed for over a decade.
“In the final days of the supermarket’s life, a good manager would be offering solidarity and reassurance in the face of ambiguity about the workers’ futures,” said Mikee Santos, FIRST Union Organiser for Retail, Finance and Commerce. “Perhaps even a little gratitude for their years of service.”
“Instead, we have seen a clear and deliberate disregard for the workers who made him huge profits in his time running the supermarket.”
“Since the last Collective Agreement expired in March 2019, we’ve seen redundancy offers deliberately misinterpreted and false promises dangled, reasonable offers accepted and then withdrawn, and an impasse has formed over Mr Bonnington’s seeming indifference to how staff will fare following the store’s closure and demolition.”
“This managerial hostility is increasing workers’ stress unnecessarily, and it makes many of them feel unappreciated and unacknowledged during this process, like they’re being cast aside with the old building.”
While the expired Collective Agreement outlines minimum compensation for redundancies, FIRST Union has been negotiating a new Agreement since April with knowledge of the store’s impending closure. During an initial round of bargaining, workers were offered a lump sum payment of $1 for each contracted hour worked over the prior 30 weeks, which was later reneged upon and reduced by Mr Bonnington to 50c per hour and then zero, seemingly in spite.
“This ordeal exemplifies why supermarket franchise models can be a nightmare when negotiating Collective Agreements – they could be negotiated far more simply across the whole industry or the corporate entity rather than by individual managers with their own prejudices about the role of unions in the workplace,” said Mr Santos.
“We are calling on the corporate management of Foodstuffs to step in and ensure that a new Collective Agreement can be negotiated before one rogue manager who seems fixated on opposing FIRST Union can end his staff’s careers on such a sour note.”