Get the Warehouse to pay a Living Wage

Warehouse Porirua

by Martin Gregory

Today International Socialists and local Living Wage activists joined striking First Union members in an hour’s action outside the Warehouse store in Porirua. We were asking shoppers to show their support for the in dispute workers by signing protest postcards to The Warehouse Group boss Mark Powell. In that short time over 200 signed.

Back in 2013 The Warehouse Group told us that they were going to pay the Living Wage, which is currently $19.25 an hour. The reality is rather different. Instead, the claimed living wage is what The Warehouse call a “career retailer wage” of at least $18.50 an hour. The catch is that to qualify you have to have been employed for 5 years or have clocked up 5,000 hours; a tall order given staff turnover and the number of part-time jobs in retail. Only 15% of The Warehouse workers get the boasted “career retailer wage”. [Read more…]

Solidarity with ANZ Workers!

ANZ Strike 1

By Josh O’Sullivan

On Friday unionised ANZ workers walked out on their jobs to protest the underhanded offers of the ANZ bosses during collective bargaining negotiations. After posting consecutive profit records that just last year amounted to $1.7 billion, CEO David Hisco gave himself a 11% pay rise, leaving his paycheck $4.7 million a year (an incredible $2,157 an hour), making him the highest paid CEO in New Zealand. His offer to the workers is 0-3% pay rises, and forced casualization. While the profits have broken every record, pay rates have stagnated even in many cases lost value due to inflation. In addition to this the destabilisation of contract work impacts on job security everywhere – it started in the fast food sector and hospitality and now it is spreading through to more historically secure work.

[Read more…]

Migrant Workers Abuse Scandal in Christchurch: Immigration Bill Not the Answer

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In early January there was a rerun of stories in the media about a new law to “crackdown on migrant exploitation.” When the Immigration Amendment Bill No. 2 was introduced in Parliament in October last year First Union highlighted the case of Filipino workers in Christchurch being told that they must work on Saturdays without pay or be sent home. The January spate of news items again gave publicity to this example of migrant abuse. The new law, we are told, will deal with scandals like this by ending the anomaly that it is not a criminal offense for employers to abuse migrants on temporary work visas while it is a criminal offense to abuse illegal immigrants. With the media reporting Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse as taking action against the exploitation of migrant workers, we must consider whether this new bill from the National Party really is benevolent. [Read more…]