ZB

Countdown shelves left bare due to strike action

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 30 Nov 2021, 3:22pm
Some Countdown shelves have not been restocked. (Photo / Dean Purcell)
Some Countdown shelves have not been restocked. (Photo / Dean Purcell)

Countdown shelves left bare due to strike action

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 30 Nov 2021, 3:22pm

Countdown shelves have been left bare off the back of strike action earlier this week. 

Images taken at Countdown locations in Auckland show shelves with only a few remaining items. 

This comes off the back of a three-day strike arranged by distribution centre workers for the supermarket business. 

About 700 staff at two sites in Auckland walked off the job on November 27 demanding a wage increase of 5 per cent, in line with the rising cost of living. 

They were successful in their strike action, but Countdown warned at the time that the strike action would lead to product shortages. 

A Countdown supermarket spokesperson earlier told RNZ the company was pleased to have reached an agreement with striking workers. 

They said staff worked incredibly hard to minimise the impact on customers, but that it will take a few days to properly restock shelves. 

These issues appear to be ongoing, with stores having to play catch up after the strike. 

"While we are very pleased to have reached an agreement over last weeks' strike in our Auckland distribution centres, there have been some knock-on impacts to our national supply chain," a Countdown spokesperson confirmed today. 

"Customers may still see gaps on shelves over the coming days while 
we work to get products back into our stores." 

The spokesperson assured the Herald the company was ready for the Christmas rush. 

"Beyond this, we've worked really hard over the last few months to make sure we're well-prepared in the lead up to Christmas, despite ongoing global sea freight challenges," she said. 

"We're working with our suppliers and supply chain partners to mitigate these impacts 
as best we can and would encourage customers to only buy what they need to make sure there's plenty for everyone." 

At the time of the strike action, First Union told RNZ that on top of the 5 per cent raise next year, workers will get a nearly 4 per cent boost for nine months in 2023. 

Union spokesperson Jared Abbott said the deal included extra sick leave and redundancy provisions, but getting more money in the pay packet was a bottom line for staff. 

"The workers said 'don't come back with an offer of less than 5 per cent', and to be able to stand in front of them last night and be able to tell them they were getting their 5 per cent was a really good feeling. 

"The vibe and the parties that happened afterwards were a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me." 

Abbott said the agreement also covered hundreds of workers in Palmerston North and Christchurch. 

He said the public support for the strikers gave them a huge confidence boost. 

"A huge thank you to the public support, it made a huge difference to these people. 

"On the picket line, we were having all sorts of people bringing down donations, bringing down food. 

"That really really gave people the hope to see this through." 

Abbott said the new agreement made them some of the highest-paid distribution workers in the country, and the extra money would make a make a massive difference to their families. 

- Additional reporting from RNZ