31 JULY 2008
Warehouse Decision Is Pro-New Zealand
"The Court of Appeal decision preventing Woolworths or Foodstuffs buying The Warehouse Ltd is good news for the workers and customers of all three companies," said Laila Harre, National Secretary of the National Distribution Union.
“The NDU has just started organising workers in The Warehouse retail stores, hundreds of who have joined the union in the last few weeks,” she said.
"A big concern of those workers has been the possible sale of The Warehouse to either of the two supermarket chains. A merger with either of the two giants would have put workers in all three companies at risk through consolidation of the combined business.”
“Sale to Australia’s Progressive would have seen more and more of our consumer dollars crossing the Tasman as profits for Australian owners. Sale to Foodstuffs would have passed control to a company that has a record of paying the lowest wages in the supermarket industry and which has a history of undermining the union organisation needed to raise wages.”
"While these players are now out of the picture The Warehouse’s owners will be ruing the inevitable drop in the share price and are likely to continue to prepare for sale. Companies dressing themselves up for suitors often do so at the expense of their staff. Our union is being very vigilant about that, insisting that there should be much more extensive consultation and engagement with members on programmes like the company’s Project Invigorate which is designed to rationalise staffing numbers in stores where workers are already reporting under-staffing.”
"We do not want to see The Warehouse picked up by a private equity fund, nor do we want to see it bought by the likes of Wal-Mart.Â We will be working with our members to monitor the situation very closely," Laila Harre said.