"Countdown and Foodstuffs have confirmed that they’ll be ending the 10% bonus provided to essential workers during the level-4 lockdown beyond the coming week," said Tali Williams, FIRST Union Secretary for Retail, Finance and Commerce.
"This is a backwards step, and supermarket workers are understandably angry and feeling pretty crushed."
"After finally getting the recognition they deserve for holding their communities together during a crisis, it seems that that Countdown and Foodstuffs don’t think they’re worth a living wage after all."
"Workers are risking their safety, often for poverty wages, so that the rest of us can stay home and eliminate the spread of Covid-19 in New Zealand as we’ve been asked to do."
"Many supermarket workers are telling us that they’re scared and stressed, overworked and struggling with rent, and the ten percent bonus from employers was one of the only things keeping them afloat."
"There’s no such problem for the supermarkets themselves, who have quite simply been raking it in."
"Workers tell us that demand for groceries has literally doubled in recent weeks as New Zealanders are cooking at home, not to mention the initial panic buying rush."
"Nobody should be earning less than the living wage while they put their lives on the line during a pandemic that has already killed over 180,000 people globally where essential workers are especially vulnerable."
FIRST Union calls on New Zealanders to tell Countdown and Foodstuffs to show some heart
From next Tuesday April 28th, New Zealand will leave level 4 of the Government’s Covid-19 alert system and enter level 3. Supermarkets will continue to operate as essential services, and workers will continue to serve their communities for low wages on long hours, at a greater risk of infection than the rest of us. Nothing much will change for them, but they’ll earn ten percent less.
"We’re calling on New Zealanders to bring a heart, draw a heart, wear a heart when you’re doing your normal shopping over the coming weeks," said Ms Williams.
"Get creative - involve your kids and your families - and display or wear your support proudly when you’re visiting the supermarket as normal during level 3."
"An A4 or A3 bit of paper fits nicely onto the front of a supermarket trolley so you can communicate yours and your family’s message of support for workers while calling on their bosses to show some heart and continue paying these workers fairly, now and into the future."
"You must of course follow public health guidelines and don’t visit the supermarket unnecessarily, but if you are, this casual act of solidarity is easy to do and a meaningful way for you to show these workers that you care and recognise that they’re worth a living wage."
"There’s an example HERE of how you might do it - this is Kaea, she’s 4, from Hamilton, and she loves any and all kinds of noodles - she thinks it’s pretty awesome that someone’s around to provide them while she’s stuck at home."
"Online, you can use the #WorthIt and #ShowSomeHeart hashtags to post pictures or videos of your messages to workers on social media."
"Meanwhile, union delegates and workers will be signing up new members and calling on supermarket owners to show some heart and pay these workers fairly - they need the public behind them."