FIRST Union wants supermarkets to pay the same wage but doesn’t mention competitive pricing

Alf seems to be missing something about that wonderful element in our economy called free enterprises.

This is the idea that one business can compete with another by offering better quality, or lower prices, and so on.

It requires business people to strive for efficiencies to trim their costs.

Labour costs are part of this.

But the FIRST Union apparently would prefer all supermarkets to pay much the same wages.

Presumably it expects them to charge the same prices, too.

Alf gleans this from a press statement from the union, which is embroiled in a contretemps with a supermarket in Porirua over wages.

The union is chuffed that workers at Porirua PAK’nSAVE were joined by community supporters and a giant inflatable rat at a picket outside the supermarket yesterday.

Another community picket will be held today.

The nature of the grievance?

PAK’nSAVE workers, members of FIRST Union, have been negotiating for a payrise since August, but the company’s best offer for a checkout worker who has been employed for one year is over a dollar an hour less than it would be in the Countdown just up the road.

So what has this got to do with the rest of the community?

The supermarket pays most workers around the minimum wage, and FIRST Union organiser Richie Morris said Porirua families and the wider community are being ripped off.

“PAK’nSAVE can afford to lift its workers’ wages significantly, but is instead the store is denying a decent income for Porirua workers to properly support their families.”

“Store owner Ivan Jones costs the taxpayer a fortune in state allowances and subsidies to workers because of his refusal to pay decent wages, but he is a very wealthy man.”

This Morris feller went on to say Kilbirnie PAK’nSAVE has recently negotiated with the union to pay a rate that is 55 cents an hour higher for a checkout operator with one year’s experience than Porirua has offered.

“We are calling on shoppers to shop at Countdown until Mr Jones decides it is time to pay his workers a decent wage so they can meet the ever rising costs in supporting themselves and their families,” Richie Morris said.

Alf has a suggestion: why not get the aggrieved workers to take their labour elsewhere?

Oh, and it would be a good idea to consult the community on the notion that all supermarkets get rid of those specials and start charging the same prices for their wares.

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