Striking Countdown distribution centre workers secure pay rise, union says

The industrial action resulted in stock shortages at Countdown supermarkets across the country.

Chris McKeen/Stuff

The industrial action resulted in stock shortages at Countdown supermarkets across the country.

A pay rise has been secured for Countdown’s Auckland distribution centre workers, who have been on strike since midnight Tuesday, the union representing them says.

About 700 Countdown workers went on strike after the supermarket chain declined to offer pay increases in line with the consumer price index (CPI) during bargaining for a new collective agreement.

The strike, which had been expected to continue into Saturday, resulted in stock shortages at Countdowns around the country.

However, late on Friday night First Union spokesman Jared Abbott said distribution centre workers from the company’s two distribution sites in Auckland had signed a new agreement that would include a 5 per cent wage rise for the next year and a 3.9 per cent increase for a nine-month term in the following year.

* Countdown strike ‘likely’ to extend beyond midnight as stock runs low in supermarkets across the country
* Stock shortages at Countdown expected over the coming days as distribution staff strike
* Countdown proposed pay rise for call centre staff ‘unacceptable’, union says

“We’re really proud of our delegates and members at Countdown, who made it clear that they wanted real negotiations and an agreement that covered the increased cost of living as well as the massive efforts they put into their jobs,” Abbott said.

The new agreement made them some of the highest-paid distribution workers in the country, he said.

“I know it’s going to make a massive difference to them and their families.

“This would not have happened without real effort and targeted industrial action, and it’s been inspiring to watch these people come together to fight for each other as well as others who don’t even work there yet.”

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