Workers of all stripes join Cotton On staff in picket for living wage
FIRST Union members and delegates from a diverse range of industries are coming together today to picket in solidarity with Cotton On workers, who are fighting for a living wage with an employer whose latest offer may make them even worse off, FIRST Union said today.
Outside Cotton On Onehunga, Shop 255 Onehunga Mall Rd, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
Wednesday 16th October, 13:00
Cotton On members are currently negotiating a new Collective Agreement with their employer, but despite the company’s repeated claims that they will provide “a pathway to the living wage”, a “people first focus” and a “commitment to recognise and reward their staff,” the company’s latest offer has been received dismally by its workers.
“Cotton On are very keen to be seen as the smiling face of a modern and ethical fast-fashion industry, but as an employer, their treatment of workers doesn’t live up to the most basic standards of fairness,” said Denise Roche, FIRST Union Organiser.
“After taking strike action recently, workers in their retail stores and distribution centres are frustrated by the fact that the company’s latest offer would actually take some of them backwards – this is not a fair wage, and certainly not a living wage.”
Wages for full-time workers at Cotton On typically range from between $17.95 and $19 per hour, and retail workers usually start on around $18.39 per hour. The company’s latest offer to members would see next year’s minimum wage of $18.90 as a new starting out rate; something that members who have been fighting for a living wage see as insulting given the company’s consistent attempts to position itself as an ethical business that cares for its workers. The current living wage as of September 2019 is $21.15, according to the Family Centre Social Policy Unit.
“Today’s picket will see members from across the spectrum – from truck drivers and supermarket workers to manufacturers and bakers – coming together to show Cotton On that workers do care about the living wage and can’t live off minimum wage while supporting their families,” said Ms Roche.
“It’s time Cotton On looked around at 2019 and joined businesses like H&M, The Warehouse, Bunnings and Kmart in paying their staff a living wage – it’s not only achievable but long overdue.”