Supermarket distribution workers walk off the job over pay

Supermarket distribution workers walk off the job over pay

Hundreds of workers at two Countdown distribution centres in Auckland are taking strike action in a dispute over pay.

Around 700 staff are involved in the three-day strike (ending Friday November 26). Workers at the two centres – which supply supermarkets throughout New Zealand - say they are seeking pay increases in line with the Consumer Price Index to cover the rising costs of living in Auckland, including spiralling rent and housing costs. They are looking for a 4.9% increase.

The union claims the supermarket chain has been making more money than ever during the pandemic, and the strikes are aimed at bringing Countdown back to the bargaining table.

In a statement, a Countdown spokesperson said it was disappointed the workers felt the need to strike given negotiations were ongoing. The company considered it had a strong offer on the table.

The spokesperson said customers may see gaps on the shelves over the coming days and potentially weeks - distribution centre operations were already stretched due to COVID health and safety measures. "We'll do our best to ensure we can continue to deliver essential food and products into our stores for Kiwi families during this period," the spokesperson said.

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