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Bunnings Signs New National Living Wage Deal While Mitre 10 Lags Behind

Bunnings workers are leading the way in the hardware sector after signing a new national Collective Agreement that will see all existing and new staff earning at least a living wage, and it’s time for competitors who have fought against their own staff like Mitre 10 to step up and accept the effective wage floor in retail rates before the public deserts them, FIRST Union said today.

FIRST Union members at Bunnings have been in negotiation with the company since their last agreement expired in 2020, and delegates successfully argued that a living wage for all workers at the hardware chain should be a minimum expectation in 2021.

"Bunnings staff have been busier than ever since the first wave of the pandemic, and we’ve heard that their workloads have never quite returned to ‘normal’ again - I’m thrilled that they will now be fairly paid for the work they do," said Tali Williams, FIRST Union Secretary for Retail, Finance and Commerce.

"Our 'Healthy Staffing, Healthy Stores' campaign has focused on fair pay and safe conditions across the retail sector, and Bunnings workers have done an amazing job in confronting remuneration, staffing levels and secure hours as part of the negotiating process - all three aspects are now being proactively dealt with in the new Collective Agreement."

"Bunnings are also the first major retail employer of the year to sign a new deal that includes the new and updated living wage of $22.75 for staff who’ve worked there more than twelve months come September."

But Ms Williams said that other brands in the retail industry like Cotton On and H&M were actively fighting against their own staff over similar living wage bargaining in 2021, singling out Bunnings’ direct competitor, Mitre 10, as a franchise model that is lagging behind the industry norm and acting punitively against union members who have sought anything more than the minimum wage.

"It’s a shame to point to wider failings in the industry on a day of celebration for Bunnings workers, but this deal shows us a clear contrast between a business that is looking forward and one that is looking backwards," said Ms Williams.

"While Bunnings workers were negotiating this deal, union members at Mitre 10 in Auckland at the Riviera group of stores were and are still locked into fruitless negotiations with an owner determined to stymie fair bargaining and drive wages down."

"It’s time retail employers who are not paying a living wage took a moment to reflect on the huge profits made in the sector despite the pandemic, and truly consider the people on the shop floor who make that windfall every year for the company."

"It’s FIRST Union’s aim to cement the living wage as the current wage floor in the sector, and we are looking forward to the day that Fair Pay Agreements can enshrine that in law and end the nonsensical disparities between people who work for different brands or in different cities and earn vastly different pay packets despite doing the same job as each other."

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