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Warehouse Workers Are Sharing Their Thoughts On The Company’s Behaviour

Warehouse workers have opted to continue a ‘social media strike’ and are sharing their thoughts on executive pay, the importance of a living wage and their challenging working conditions despite threats from management to penalise participating staff, and FIRST Union says further industrial action will continue over the coming month as Warehouse workers seek a living wage and a new Collective Agreement.

Nick Mayne, FIRST Union organiser, said that over 1300 union members were feeling energised and galvanised after an initial week of strike action and were planning future actions while a ‘social media strike’ continues until October 27th. This means workers are refusing to observe non-communication clauses in their collective agreements to share their concerns about pay and working conditions at The Warehouse with their personal networks online.

Mr Mayne said workers were outraged by what they considered a threat from Warehouse Chief Human Resource Officer Richard Parker to penalise participants in the social media strike (attached).

"The intention is not to damage the Warehouse brand publicly but to call for the company to live up to its ‘Here for Good’ motto and share their experiences of work with their families, friends and personal networks," said Mr Mayne.

"It’s really galling to be told to shut up about your wages by a company whose CEO's salary has doubled since 2017 - more than five times the rate of growth for the Warehouse’s entire labour bill." (see attached graph)

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"It undermines their trust in their employer and diminishes many of the good things that Warehouse workers have been able to achieve in their communities despite a tough relationship with executives, who are far from the shop floor."

Mr Mayne said that the Warehouse’s current offer to members of a 4% pay rise was an effective pay cut and workers understood basic economic concepts like inflation and a rising cost of living, as demonstrated by a selection of anonymised comments submitted to FIRST Union and shared at https://www.facebook.com/groups/alivingwageisgood/:

"4% pay increase offer? When inflation is 6%? Yet you can afford to give your CEO a massive pay increase? Come on Warehouse. If you're really "Here for Good" and a 'good Kiwi company', how come you won't even look after the Kiwis who work for you? Do better! If you don't value your employees, just say that "

"I enjoy my job, I love helping my customers the best I can, but I don't enjoy coming home to hungry kids because I can't afford to buy any decent food for them, it makes me cry some nights. Mr CEO you come watch my kids night after night when they are hungry I bet you would cry too. We all do our best for you and all we ask is that you remember who brings the customers back for you, we do!"

"How can the company afford to go to solar power, put new signage up in all stores yet cant pay their workers a living wage! I know Im barely scrapping by with the all the price increases including my mortgage when it came off fixed this year?! It makes me so mad that the CEO of this company is on mega bucks (i think we worked it out to be $20 a minute)and he cant look after the people who run the stores! We are on the ground slaving away with lack of staff...being pulled in all directions from jobs to do, to helping customers! I go home absolutely exhausted as do my fellow workers in my store so why cant we be paid accordingly!"

"Dear CEO. I'm a mum of 2 a house owner and a single mother, How can you live comfortably while most of us are living on paycheck to paycheck trying to get by every fortnite. Before everything went up prices I could afford groceries and mortgage every month. Now I can't afford groceries but to put a roof over my kids head. I left with at least $50 to get by the next fortnit, my kids eat noodles and toasts everyday and night. Please give us the living wage so then we can live comfortably and not struggle everyday "

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