FIRST Union hopeful The Warehouse might not close its Kaikohe branch
The union representing The Warehouse workers is hopeful for a resolution this afternoon after being informed the company has re-opened negotiations with its landlord.
The company advised the Kaikohe store’s 60 full and part time workers yesterday of an impending closure in June, saying they could not renew their lease, but FIRST Union understands a two-year lease was offered.
There were concerns the iconic Kiwi brand were no longer putting people first after it was revealed it had recently enlisted the services of the somewhat high profile and controversial US consultancy McKinsey & Company that specializes in digitization and automation.
FIRST Union is weary about what such moves could mean for other branches because it could signal a culture change within the company, despite local communities loyalty towards the brand.
First Union National Coordinator for The Warehouse Kate Davis says she’s hopeful there hasn’t been a culture shift in the company and that they realise that there’s more going on in these small towns than their bottom dollar, “One worker was particularly delighted and relieved, he’d been with the company for 11 years and had just moved from Rotorua to Kaikohe. On his first day he was being told he was going to be made redundant. So yes, we are very pleased they are now looking at all their options.”
Ms Davis says while it’s a move in the right direction, the company should have done more in the first place before announcing an impending closure.
“The Warehouse has always said it’s more than just a store, but instead an integral part of the community. We are hoping that they will be able to illustrate their commitment to the workers and residents in Kaikohe by finding an alternate location.”
The Warehouse is a large employer in the area and the shop itself plays an important function in the community. A closure would have been a real hit for an area already struggling with exceptionally high unemployment. It is taxpayers who eventually end up picking up the bill for aggressive company moves such as this as there are so few employment opportunities in these areas.