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Grand Theft Auckland- Protest at JB HiFi this Week

Grand Theft Auckland- Protest at JB HiFi this Weekend.

Software is now a multi billion dollar industry- with many games outselling Hollywood Movies.

Software titles make a huge profit for JB Hifi shareholders- sometimes as much as 40 to 50% of the sales price- yet little of this goes to the retail worker.

But JB Staff are having their hours cut, and are now “Targetted” because of pressure to increase sales.

The consumer affairs programme, TARGET, laid the blame for counter staff selling over 18 yr old games to teenagers on the individual workers and counter staff. Yet this does not tell the true story of a ruthless Australian management culture that prioritises sales above all else- that puts huge pressure on the workers to achieve high targets, and provides no training to staff on these issues.

Steven, an ex counter manager, says-

“Counter staff receive no training on things like this, everything is geared towards making as much money as possible. Management never encourages anyone to think about age restrictions because that could potentially lose us sales”

The real scandal in the JB HIFI stores is how over 18s are treated like children- no pay rise for three years, working for 75 cents above minimum wage-

A software worker speaks-

“I’ve been working with Jb Hifi since they first opened in New Zealand, and even though our contract promises us an annual review- we’ve never had one. There is no pay scale that rewards workers for dedicated service- we feel like we are told to do this, then do this, but are just ignored- we’re not being fairly treated.

You have to be fit to do this job- we’re moving and talking all day, on our feet at all times- box filling, putting product out, answering customers enquiries. We’ve been hired by this company for a skill set- our knowledge about films, music and software- yet most people I know have second jobs to make up for the low pay. This means a lot of people are stressed and tired from working 50 or 60 hour weeks.

We’re not allowed any breaks between 12 and 2pm, and we are constantly short staffed. Now they are cutting people’s hours on top of all of this. We are also expected to work for free after quitting time- serving until the last customer has left the shop.

The profit on software, DVDs and CDs is huge for the company- 40 or 50%. Yet you’ll notice that most JB workers are young- an older person just couldn’t survive on this.”

Unite, the union that organises JB Hifi workers, has called a protest this weekend outside JB hifi’s flagship store in Auckland, to expose what it calls Grand Theft Auckland. Workers who are Over 18 are sick of being treated like kids by a company that has made $150 million in profits, whose CEO pays himself $4 million dollars, yet refuses to talk to his workers or to the media about the many issues his company faces in New Zealand. Union organiser Joe Carolan-

“More and more people are supporting the fight by JB workers for a fair pay increase- and over 5,800 customers have signed a petition to retiring CEO Richard Euchtritz to come back to the table with the Union and give the workers a 50c increase. Since May 1st, the Queen Street store in Auckland has been picketed by union supporters and activists every Saturday, who have given out thousands of leaflets and stickers to customers and passers by, explaining how much money JB is making, and how little they pay their workers. These customers have now refused to shop with JB, and workers at Queen Street report that Saturday sales are down. Queen St picketers estimate they turn away about 200 customers on every picket- so each protest is having an economic effect.”

Friday 4pm till 6pm then Saturday 1pm till 4pm. JB HiFi Queen Street.


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