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Workers’ pickets in the heart of Auckland retail tomorrow

A series of workers’ pickets will kick off in the heart of Auckland retail tomorrow

Retail workers and their supporters will be making a statement in the centre of Auckland’s bustling Queen Street tomorrow over pay and performance conditions.

Auckland Farmers workers and their supporters will picket at 210 Queen Street tomorrow from 12:30 pm, and outside Farmers Queensgate in Wellington tomorrowfrom 12pm, media are invited to attend. This kicks off a series of planned pickets to take place outside Farmers stores over the coming weeks.

Farmers workers typically start on or near the minimum wage ($16.50), for most roles the pay scale ends around $17.50 and any pay increases from there are only obtained through performance pay reviews. Farmers members believe the performance pay review system is unfair. One such worker received multiple certificates with glowing reviews praising his customer service skills yet his latest performance review resulted in a C-grade despite all his efforts. Over half of Farmers members are on this grade or lower. The company’s latest offer was rejected by 93% of members. Farmers members presented a petition to management asking for the living wage and an end to performance pay with more than 600 signatures.

FIRST Union retail, finance and commerce secretary Tali Williams says workers want Farmers to phase out the performance pay system that holds wages down, and to pay their workers a living wage.

“We realise this cannot happen overnight, but for ethics sake it should be removed. How can they tout their brand as a family’s brand when at the same time their abysmal pay is causing many families to struggle?”

Ms Williams says the Farmers pay scale is substantively behind other retail employers. “It’s disappointing to see Farmers, a company steeped in so much New Zealand history as an iconic Kiwi brand, lagging so far behind in a time in New Zealand’s history when businesses are beginning to acknowledge they need to pay wages that workers can thrive on, not just survive.”


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