Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Oh that’s where they get their profits from!

Oh that’s where they get their profits from!

Inequality: a kick in the guts for hard working New Zealanders

Today the National Business Review released its Rich List. For the first time, the combined value of the rich listers has tipped over the $100 billion dollar mark, that’s up 26% from last year’s list.

The other side of this story is not such a happy one.

Many of the 34 newcomers to the list have made their fortunes in the grocery business, a generation of men who’re now worth around 60 million each.

The problem being that the average supermarket worker is on minimum or minimal wages. It is clear minimum wages are not enough to live off and cause many families financial hardship. These owners have the ability to lift wages, and to lift the struggle from these families, but thus far they have not.

FIRST Union, which represents retail workers, negotiates for workers’ wages and conditions in supermarkets. North Island supermarkets have to be negotiated individually with each owner. Here’s how a few pan out:

Glen Innes Pak n Save owner, who’s worth an estimated $65 million, is currently paying one of the lowest rates as far as collective agreements go in Auckland supermarkets.

The Union is currently bargaining at Hastings Pak n Save where workers recently had to resort to a strike action following a miserable offer, several pickets have also been held at the store. At mediation, the owner offered a 0% pay rise for the 2018 year.

At Whakatane Pak n Save, where the Union has been bargaining for the last few months, rates on offer do not keep relativity with the minimum wage.

The story doesn’t get any better for the South Island. There’s a long-standing legal dispute with Foodstuffs South Island stores as to whether supermarkets are obligated to collectively bargain with the Union.

FIRST Union has also been working through several cases of bullying, intimidation and discrimination at many of these stores.


FIRST Union’s Mandeep Bela says inequality is a problem for New Zealand and enough is enough.

“When we have supermarket owners banking some of the largest profits while paying staff some of the lowest wages in the country it just doesn’t make sense, how have we got to this?”

Mr Bela says the owners making the most are the stores that are notoriously difficult to deal with at the negotiation table.
It’s not about trying to stop profits, it’s about ensuring people have enough so they are not struggling, this is what the Living Wage provides. Either the owners don’t see this correlation, or don’t care.”

He encourages supermarket owners throughout New Zealand to take a long, hard look at their actions, and points them towards the workers initiative that is the Worth It campaign.

If they could only realise they’re making millions at the expense of hard working and often struggling kiwis, they could then take a look at the campaign our members have come up with that sets guidelines for companies who would like to be more ethical employers. It asks for the Living Wage of $20.55 an hour, requests workers are given enough hours to live on, and that pay grades are relative to the rising minimum wage.”

He says it’s time that these store owners pay fair wages and conditions to its workers who have contributed immensely to their pile of assets.

“If they don’t, the story of inequality in New Zealand is only going to get worse. Long gone are the days of an equal New Zealand society but it doesn’t mean it has to stay this way.”

Mr Bela says the Worth It campaign is already having an impact in the retail sector with Living Wage agreements at Huckleberry grocers, Bunnings and Smith City to name a few.

You can be wealthy and pay your workers the Living Wage, it doesn’t have to be one or the other, and it’s time these companies moved with the times.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Science Media Centre: Funding For R&D In New Zealand – Expert Reaction

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Megan Woods has today announced $401.3 million funding for research and development through Budget 2020 and the COVID Response and Recovery Fund. The fund includes $150 million for an R&D loan scheme, ... More>>

ALSO:

Maritime NZ: NZ Joins Global Initiative Keeping Ports Open And Freight Moving

New Zealand has joined an international port authorities’ global initiative for safe and efficient movement of goods and shipping during the COVID-19 crisis. World-wide, 56 port authorities have agreed how they will work together facilitating maritime ... More>>

ALSO:

National: National Backs Businesses With $10k JobStart

National will provide a $10,000 cash payment to businesses that hire additional staff as part of our commitment to keeping New Zealanders in jobs, National Party Leader Todd Muller and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith have announced. Our JobStart ... More>>

ALSO:

DIY Law: Government Exempts Some Home Improvements From Costly Consents

Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector ... More>>

ALSO:

Media Awards: The New Zealand Herald Named Newspaper Of The Year, Website Of The Year At Voyager Media Awards

The New Zealand Herald has been labelled a “powerhouse news operation” as it claims the two biggest prizes – Newspaper of the Year and Website of the Year – along with many individual awards at the 2020 Voyager Media Awards Website of the ... More>>

ALSO:

ASB Bank: ASB Takes The Lead Again With New Low Home Loan Interest Rate

ASB has moved again to support its customers, cutting a number of home loan rates, including the two-year special rate to a new low of 2.69% p.a. Craig Sims, ASB executive general manager Retail Banking says the reduced rate will be welcome news for many ... More>>

ALSO:

Nathan Hoturoa Gray: The Problems With Testing And Case Statistics For Covid-19

To begin to understand disease transmission in a country requires adequate testing of your population with properly vetted, accurate tests. As the world struggles to find what 'adequate percentage' of the population is necessary, (estimates predict ... More>>

ALSO:

RNZ: Fletcher Building To Lay Off 1000 Staff In New Zealand

The construction company will cut around 10 percent of its workforce as it struggles with the fallout from Covid-19. More>>

ALSO:

Can Pay, Won't Pay: Cashflow Moves Urged

Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why We Should Legally Protect The Right To Work From Home

For understandable reasons, the media messaging around Level Two has been all about “freedom” and “celebration”, but this is not necessarily going to be a universal experience. When it comes to workplace relations, Level Two is just as likely to ... More>>

ALSO:



New Zealand Government: Supporting Kiwi Businesses To Resolve Rent Disputes

The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. More>>

ALSO:


Science Media Centre: Understanding 5G Concerns – Expert Q&A


Recent attacks on cell phone towers have brought concerns over the rollout of 5G technology into sharp relief.
While scientific research has consistently shown that the technology does not adversely affect human health, public concerns about its impact have spread around the world, fueled in part by growing misinformation online. The SMC asked experts to comment... More>>

ALSO:


Trade: Record Monthly Surplus As Imports Dive

Imports in April 2020 had their biggest fall since October 2009, resulting in a monthly trade surplus of $1.3 billion, Stats NZ said today. “This is the largest monthly trade surplus on record and the annual goods trade deficit is the lowest ... More>>

ALSO:


Media Blues: Stuff Chief Executive Buys Company For $1

Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher has purchased Stuff from its Australian owners Nine Entertainment for $1.
The chief executive was returning the company to New Zealand ownership, with the sale is expected to be completed by 31 May.
"Our plan is to transition the ownership of Stuff to give staff a direct stake in the business as shareholders," Boucher said in a statement.... More>>

ALSO:

RNZ: Bar Reopening Night 'much, Much Quieter'

Pubs and bars are reporting a sluggish first day back after the lockdown, with the fear of going out, or perhaps the joy of staying home, thought to be a reason for the low numbers. More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: New Zealand’s Population Passes 5 Million

New Zealand's resident population provisionally reached 5 million in March 2020, Stats NZ said today. More>>

NIWA: Seven Weeks Of Clearing The Air Provides Huge Benefits: Scientist

Seven weeks of lockdown has provided evidence of how pollution can vanish overnight with benefits for the environment and individuals, says NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley. Dr Longley has been monitoring air quality in Auckland, Wellington ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Milestone In Cash Flow Support To SMEs

A significant package of tax reforms will be pushed through all stages in Parliament today to throw a cash flow lifeline to small businesses. More>>

ALSO: