Media Release from the National Distribution Union
Embargoed until midday Saturday December 5
December 5, 2009
Protests target South Island Foodstuffs directors
Foodstuffs distribution centre staff will protest at two Pak n Save and one New World supermarket in Christchurch beginning at 1.30 pm on Saturday.
NDU South Island Regional Secretary Paul Watson says each of the targeted supermarkets is owned by a director of Foodstuffs South Island which is refusing to improve wages through collective bargaining.
The workers are also protesting about the company withholding over *$5000 in wages owed to members over an apparent unlawful suspension of union members two weeks ago.
Mr Watson says that Foodstuffs supermarket owners are smiling all the way to the bank despite the recession.
“They are reaping huge rewards from shoppers spending millions of dollars across their checkout counters but when it comes to paying their workers a decent living wage much is left to be desired.
‘After nine months of negotiations the company is still refusing to improve wages through the collective bargaining process, preferring to drip feed non – negotiated wage adjustments outside formal bargaining in way that does not address low pay.”
Mr Watson says grocery price rises for New Zealand consumers are the second highest in the OECD which contributed to Foodstuffs South Island making a $227 million profit in the year to February 2009.