Pak'nSave staff to strike over minimum wage dispute

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 12 September 2018, 1:18p.m.
Pak'nSave workers will picket outside the Whakatane store this afternoon. Photo / 123RF.
Pak'nSave workers will picket outside the Whakatane store this afternoon. Photo / 123RF.

Pak'nSave Whakatane staff will strike this afternoon over claims they are being underpaid.

Around 30 employees plan to picket outside the King St store between 2.30pm and 4.30pm.

Workers claim the Whakatane store pays below the rates offered by collective agreements at other Pak'nSave stores around the country.

A statement from the First Union says workers are being paid minimum wage, despite having skills and experience deserving of higher pay.

The union says supervisors are on a pay rate only 50 cents above minimum wage.

Retail organiser Marleina Kerapa says workers have tried multiple times to communicate pay concerns to their employer.

"The union has had multiple bargaining sessions and attended mediation with the employer but the offer is still significantly less than what other Pak'nSave employers are offering," Kerapa said in a statement.

"The minimum wage shouldn't be what a majority of workers are on, that's not what it's for.

"It's a minimum, not a target for all."

She said workers were struggling to make ends meet on the wages they were being paid.

"This is about the fact that workers cannot survive on the wages paid at Pak'nSave Whakatane," she said.

"These workers have families to feed and have been loyal to their employer over the years. It's time they got a fair share of his profits."

Asked for the comment on the strike action, Pak'nSave Whakatane owner-operator Andrew Soutar said negotiations with First Union had been ongoing for some time.

"We believed we were making great progress with our third and latest offer," he said.

"Sadly, this has not been accepted by the union which has now notified us of industrial action. We do not think this is the best way forward or in the interests of our team, as we had made a competitive offer which meets the market."

Souter said he was open to continuing the conversation with staff and their union representatives.

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