Liquor King staff affected by sale of 12 stores

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Monday, 9 July 2018, 9:40AM
Many workers have chosen to take redundancy. Photo / 123RF
Many workers have chosen to take redundancy. Photo / 123RF

About 30 permanent roles are affected by the sale of 12 of Liquor King's 40 New Zealand stores.

The sales have sparked concerns from First Union which says if the liquor stores re-open under new ownership, it may cause disadvantages for workers.

Retail divisional secretary of First Union, Tali Williams, said the union did not currently have members at Liquor King but non-unionised workers often become vulnerable when a company was sold to new owners.

"New owners might only agree to take current employees on lower pay and conditions or take the opportunity to unfairly drop employees from their rosters."

While the union was unsure which stores would have workers continue employment under new ownership, many workers had chosen to take redundancy. The redundancy agreement sets out that if workers choose redundancy, or if new owners choose not to take them on, they will receive an initial pay out. Workers will also receive an extra amount for every year they have worked for the company.

Despite the redundancy pay-out offer, Williams said this was when it became important to be covered by a union. Collective employment agreements set requirements and obligations for new owners which ensured they maintained pay, terms and fair conditions.

"Any new owner should commit to keeping all of the current Liquor King workers on, and do so with fair pay and decent hours and no reduction to their terms and conditions."

Lion Breweries retail director Jemima Briggs said its decision to sell was motivated by the company's investment in igniting the industry and an ongoing investment in the wider success and sustainability of industries.

She said due to legal reasons, it could not disclose what stores had sold or what brands the stores would open up under.

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