Nationwide protest marks beginning of Cotton On strike action this Christmas
Over 300 FIRST Union members at Cotton On throughout New Zealand will be beginning nationwide strike action this Friday in major centres, protesting the company’s refusal to provide a living wage to retail and distribution centre workers - or even a pathway towards it - despite their regular claims of being an ethical employer with a commitment to the development of its workforce.
Negotiations between FIRST Union members and Cotton On began over six months ago, but despite considered input from workers and partial strike action over the last month, the company’s standing offer would worsen employment conditions further and result in a detrimental minimum wage settlement by April 2020.
WHERE & WHEN:
Friday 29th November
Wellington - 13:15-14:00 - Outside Cotton On Cuba Mall, 82-92 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Christchurch - 16:15-17:00 - Outside Cotton On at the Palms, Shop 0047, Palms Shopping Centre Marshlands &, New Brighton Road, Shirley, Christchurch
Saturday 30th November
Auckland - 13:15-14:00 - Outside Cotton On, 238 Queen Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010
"Retail workers are astonished that no settlement - or even real progress - has been achieved after six months of negotiation with Cotton On," said Tali Williams, FIRST Union Secretary for Retail, Finance and Commerce.
"Our members have approached these negotiations openly and patiently but have now reached the point where nationwide strike action is the only remaining option to let Cotton On and its customers know that these low wages and precarious hours are unsustainable for retail workers."
"Of all the major retailers that FIRST has bargained with, Cotton On are a significant outlier in that they are proposing no pathway whatsoever to the living wage for its workers, and instead will take them a step backwards from next year."
"This is particularly ironic given they’re also the loudest and most keen to signal their virtue in the ‘woke’ 2019 zeitgeist without any industrial basis to back it up."
"In Wellington, our members held their first strike earlier this month and were energised and enthused by the experience; though less so by the resulting silence from Cotton On."
"Following the Wellington protest, FIRST will be treating them to a Christmas party since their employer isn’t offering one this year."
"This is intended to be the beginning of strike action during the Christmas period."