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Regions hit hardest by job losses at The Warehouse

Regions hit hardest by job losses at The Warehouse – Union calls on Shane Jones to step in

Last month The Warehouse announced 180 jobs were on the line across 92 stores. FIRST Union is now able to reveal the full figures for the proposed job losses at the company.

The total number of proposed roles to be disestablished is 177 FTEs (Full Time Employment hours). There are 769 existing FTEs roles (or equivalent to full time work hours) that could be affected by the removal of the 177 FTEs. The populations in the regions will lose the most jobs (see below figures).

FIRST Union organiser Kate Davis says some workers have been promised jobs while others have been left in the lurch.

“Members are calling me crying because they are hearing that some of their colleagues have been verbally told they’ll keep their jobs, while others have no idea if they should be looking for a job or not.”

She says it’s also obvious it’s not proposed as The Warehouse says 180 jobs will go, and the numbers show 177 proposed losses.

“That suggests to us that the numbers are not proposed figures, they are certain.”

Ms Davis says the regions will see the most losses.

“If we compare population figures to the proposed losses in these regions, we can see how moves like this will suffocate smaller town New Zealand, and we wonder why Auckland is busting at the seams with people, it’ll force more people into the cities.”

FIRST Union is calling on Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones to step in over fears the restructure could disproportionately disadvantage the regions.

“If we take into consideration the magnitude of the move it could set a precedent for other businesses to also pull jobs from these smaller towns.”

She adds the company isn’t struggling and other retailers are thriving in New Zealand.

“It seems The Warehouse is employing millions of dollars’ worth of management and consultancy but they’re not getting a bargain, just bad advice. Kmart completed the same restructure without any redundancies just a few years ago.”

Ms Davis says it’s a far cry from what The Warehouse used to be.

“If the company goes ahead with this it proves it’s gone down the Walmart morals path and there’s no coming back from that. Companies need to consider workers and local economies.”

A survey undertaken by FIRST Union illustrates the changes are not what workers, or customers want:

Do you value seeing familiar faces from members of your local community at The Warehouse?

95% answered ‘yes’.

97% value having experienced reliable staff with job security.

90% of people prefer to pay for their items with a real live check out person!

60% feel The Warehouse has become less community oriented in the last five years.

Comments from responders:

“Everything is about money, money, money, Less staff more stress placed on those working, when out shift is ended we can’t wait to get out of there, I use to love my job, this is my 16th year @ the warehouse, not loving it as much.”

“I have seen that it is profit over people. That we have lower levels of staff available on the shop floor which leads to customers getting frustrated because no one turns up to help and it’s because they are helping someone else and can't get to a phone to let the front staff know. When there is lack of staff because they are not being replaced so there is more stress on the people left behind and definitely more work for the staff with the same expectations on work load. People get sick more often because of stress and still no replacement. And now to have people losing jobs and the restructuring, it seems like it's a ploy to pay for the self-service tills.”

Ms Davis says New Zealand’s record-hitting underemployment figures show New Zealanders want more hours, and women are well over-represented in these numbers.

“This move will disadvantage families, and mainly women who are trying to gain full time employment. People want more hours, Kiwis are hard workers, pay them what they’re worth and give them stable hours.”

She says the kind of working structures the company is pushing for is not the working way of New Zealanders, and the company needs to realise that fair hours and fair pay are the only way to a sustainable work future.

“Is this what we want our retail workforce to be like in the future? Or do we want to provide people with real jobs that are secure and allow people to live healthy lives? I know what one I prefer, our communities prefer, and workers prefer.”

The total number of proposed roles to be disestablished is 177 FTEs (Full Time Employment hours). There are 769 existing FTEs roles (or equivalent to full time work hours) that could be affected by the removal of the 177 FTEs.

Current Change Region population

Northland: 63 (FTEs) -17.8 175,500

Auckland: 181.1 -31.3 1,657,200

Waikato: 62.3 -9.1 460,100

Bay of Plenty: 50 -11.2 299,900

Gisborne: 8.7 -1.7 48,500

Hawkes Bay: 19.3 -4.9 164,000

Taranaki: 21.6 -0.6 118,000

Manawatu-Wanganui: 40.9 -9.1 240,300

Wellington: 80.5 -20.3 513,900

Nelson-Marlborough: 18.4 -4 97,600

Tasman: 13.9 -3.5 51,100

West Coast: 10.4 -3.4 32,400

Canterbury: 117.9 -36.7 612,000

Otago: 55.7 -17.1 224,200

Southland Region: 20.1 -6.5 98,300


(Statistics NZ Population Estimates June 2017, Regional Council Areas).

The stores losing more than 3 EFTS roles are as follows:

Kaitaia (-3.0), Whangarei (-5.6), Pakuranga (-4.5), Sylvia Park (-5.6), Botany Downs (-3.5), Manukau (-3.9), Te Rapa (-3.5), Tauranga Crossing (-4.0), Hastings (-3.6), Taupo (-3.0), Palmerston North (-5.4), Wanganui (-3.6), Lower Hutt (-3.3), Paraparaumu (-4.1), Porirua (-4.7), Wellington (-3.7), Barrington (-5.2), Eastgate (-6.8), Hornby (-4.7), Riccarton (-5.5), Greymouth (-3.4), Rangiora (-3.7), Timaru (-4.0), Dunedin (-3.1), Invercargill (-7.3), Oamaru (-3.3), South Dunedin (-6.4).


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