Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 3:50pm
Supermarket owners comment not to hire youth politically motivated
Comments in the Christchurch Press by a Picton supermarket owner are politically motivated and self-serving, says supermarket union, the National Distribution Union
In the Press this morning, Supervalue Picton franchise operator Casey Smit claims Progressive is advising supermarkets not to employ teenagers because of significant increases in the company’s youth rates next year.
The Supervalue franchise brand is owned by Progressive.
National Distribution Union national secretary Laila Harré says that the collective agreement reached between the union and Progressive this year will see young workers paid the adult starting rate of $13.60 next August after completely the earlier of 200 hours or three months.
“This deal was a huge step forward and a sign of real commitment by both the union and the company to decent work for young people in the industry,” she says. “Mr Smit’s allegations are politically motivated and self serving. It appears that he is seeking endorsement from the National Party for his low wage policy.”
Ms Harré says that Mr Smit, who admits paying his checkout operators $12 per hour, is undervaluing both his younger and older staff.
“It is a shame that John Key is giving him comfort. So much for the claim by Mr Key that he wants to close the income gap between new Zealand and Australia.”
John Key and the National Party voted against the changes to youth rates earlier this year.