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Will Supermarket Workers Share Record Profits?

Media Release
National Distribution Union

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Will Supermarket Workers Share Record Profits?

Two days of negotiations begin as Woolworths announces record profits

Woolworths will confirm over the next two days of negotiations with the National Distribution Union whether yesterday’s “promise of more to come” included its New Zealand supermarket workers.

Woolworths Ltd, Australia’s retail giant and owner of Woolworths, Countdown and Foodtown in New Zealand said that “the best is yet to come” after the company’s annual sales increased by one-fifth to A$37.6 billion, bolstered by last years acquisition of Progressive NZ.
The National Distribution Union’s ShelfRespect.org campaign is seeking above-inflation pay rises, an end to youth rates, a collective bargaining allowance for union members and ongoing recognition of an extra week’s leave after 6 years service in wage negotiations with the company.
The company said June quarter sales in its New Zealand supermarkets were up 4% on the same quarter last year with an increase in market share.
“These sales increases signal bumper profits and supermarket workers will be after a fair share of those,” said NDU National Secretary, Laila Harre.
“While the company is doing very nicely, supermarket workers in the ShelfRespect.org campaign were not so lucky and would be hit hard by Monday’s announced 4% inflation,” she said.

Laila Harre says that despite adult members at Progressive earning almost $1.50 an hour more than non-union supermarkets, rates remain significantly below 1980’s wages and youth rates remain.

Ms Harre said that New Zealander’s spent $10 billion dollars in supermarkets last year ($1 in every $10 dollars) which gave supermarkets enormous economic power and made it a bigger industry than public health.

Negotiations with Progressive are Wednesday the 19th and Thursday the 20th of July with a cross-Auckland stopwork meeting at the Alexander Racecourse next Thursday 27 July from 9.30 until 11.30.

ENDS

See... Shelf Respect Fact Sheet (PDF)

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