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Bunnings strike

Written By: - Date published: 1:28 pm, September 26th, 2015 - 36 comments
Categories: Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

Bunnings staff are striking today after rejecting unfair contracts:

Bunnings staff striking at New Zealand stores

About 70 Bunnings workers delivered a strike notice at the company’s head office on Thursday.

First Union Retail and finance secretary Maxine Gay said Bunnings was proposing a collective agreement that would hand bosses the power to chop and change start and finish times without the worker’s agreement.

Although workers would have guaranteed hours over a fortnight under the new contracts, Bunnings was proposing a clause that would allow management to change what days of the week workers were rostered on, she said.

“Workers need certainty so they can plan things like childcare. You can’t plan your life when your work situation keeps changing,” Gay said. “This sort of insecurity is going to cause tremendous stress.”

36 comments on “Bunnings strike”

  1. billmurray 1

    Well done to the employees and the union for fighting against these sort of contracts.

  2. Paul 2

    As Bunnings ad goes ‘low prices are just the beginning.’
    They sure are.
    Low prices only occur with poor salaries, bad working conditions, offshoring of jobs, sweatshops in the third world, products that are designed for the dump,…..

    Big box stores like Bunnings are the problem.

    This video explains some of the issues.
    It’s about electronics, yet the principles are basically the same.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      One law I’d like to see is mandatory recycling of everything that’s on the market.

      • Pat 2.1.1

        now thats an interesting idea…..would certainly get rid of a lot of unnecessary product purchases and at the very least reduce waste product…the first step in moving away from consumerism?

        • half crown 2.1.1.1

          “the first step in moving away from consumerism?”

          A great idea, But no one is going to agree with that as it will affect their 1000% profit, not after tax as they don’t pay tax if it is a company like Amazon. Also, how is that going to happen when the latest “must have if you are someone” product made by slave labour in Asia becomes a major news item on the television news, with footage showing, brain washed clowns queuing up outside stores to be the first to buy. A repeat of what they did nine months earlier when they bought the first of the one they are placing.

      • maui 2.1.2

        I don’t think we’ll get there under our own steam as it’s the function of this global consumerist society that we have to consume and not think about the consequences, most people are still quite happy to do that. More likely it will only happen when no one has the money to buy expensive new things anymore and you’re only able to afford to repair your own shoes, washing machine etc rather than buy a new one. How long have people campaigned for plastic bags to be outlawed yet here we are still happy to use them and throw them away. A large economic downturn will all of a sudden make people into recyclers on mass otherwise they will go without.

        Another thing I thought of was how we pride ourselves in recycling our old computer waste. We dump it off at a special e-waste recycling day, then later a lot of that equipment gets shipped off straight to India or China to be buried in a massive hole in the ground somewhere.

    • Melb 2.2

      What a moron. She wants a range of devices with different voltage/current needs to all fit the same, or a small number of power cords. Manufacturers try to stick to the same standard as much as possible – witness the rise of jug cords for a lot of household electronics and micro USB for Android and other wireless devices – but it’s not always so practical.

      She could have made the conscious decision to spend more to repair her DVD player rather than throw it away.

      And Moore’s Law is about doubling the number of transistors, not doubling processor speed. Stopping watching here.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        She wants a range of devices with different voltage/current needs to all fit the same, or a small number of power cords.

        That’s not actually moronic – that’s economising. Moronic is having a different charging unit for each device.

        Manufacturers try to stick to the same standard as much as possible

        No they don’t. If they did then my nephew’s Samsung pad would be able to charge from a standard USB port but it can’t.

        She could have made the conscious decision to spend more to repair her DVD player rather than throw it away.

        The price of something is supposed to bring about the best action but the replacement being cheaper than the repair obviously brings about the worse action.

        Yep, pretty much everything you said there proved that you’re fucken ignorant moron.

        • RedLogix 2.2.1.1

          Actually Melb is correct. The industry has made a lot of progress towards minimising the number of different charger types in recent years – but it isn’t practical, or even desirable, to have just one universal standard.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1.1

            We already have a universal standard – the household power point. The idea would be to add to that standard an intelligent 20v circuit that uses a standard USB plug. Plug any device into it and it uses the communications channel of the USB to negotiate the power to be delivered for charging.

            Generally speaking, it really does look like we’re on the way to such universality.

      • Lanthanide 2.2.2

        Yeah, this video really annoys me too.

        It’s good for people who have never really thought about this or don’t know anything. But for anyone who knows a modicum about the industries she talks about, and why things are the way they are, she’s simplifying everything to a silly extent and saying “wouldn’t it be great if they just did this!”.

        Of course the underlying message is correct, but it’s just the way it’s presented I don’t think is as effective as it should be. Also some of the claims are a little dubious, like saying some electronic goods release toxic chemicals while they’re in use.

      • Paul Campbell 2.2.3

        (Puts on chip designer’s hat) for a large part of the time we’ve been using the Moore’s law rule of thumb speed has scaled with area – but in reality capacitance doesn’t and on chip wire resistance is no longer negligible, thermal issues have also slowed us down. Since then the rule has sort of stopped talking about Moore’s law as applying to performance and just chip area but people continue to quote that old Intel marketing hype, it’s entered the common culture.

        Moore’s law is going to die soon anyhow we have feature sizes measured in atoms quantum effects are going to slow things down we’ll need new technologies, making a wire thinner than a few atoms is obviously impossible things will grind to a halt.

        You can’t get your DVD fixed here because no one here knows how to do it,that’s not true in China for example where there are whole cottage industries recycling,repairing and reselling dead electronics, it’s probably where your dead cellphone goes when you recycle it,not in to some mythical pit.

        Choosing USB 5v as a standard probably has more to do with practicality as a designer I can ship a device without the huge expense in both money and time of getting UL certification for my power supply simply by choosing an existing already certified wall wart,it’s kind of a nobainer …. It also solves the whole different country voltage/plug mess by creating country wide economies of scale for power supplies

      • Molly 2.2.4

        Melb, despite your correcting of an inaccuracy regarding Moore’s Law, which is probably done because of the intended audience, – you missed the point, which is mainly about planned obsolescence and the negative effects on all of us.

        If you have difficulty continuing with the video above, then watch this one:
        Who Pays the Price – the human cost of electronics.

        It will give you the issues that need to be discussed: planned obsolescence, worker exploitation, negative externalities and the lack of transparency in supply chains that make the idea of consumer choice a fallacy.

  3. Ad 3

    The Warehouse shows that not all big-box retail need be the same for workers. Not perfect, but better.

    I have already emailed Bunnings saying I will not use them again (despite their superior range and service) until they reverse this stupid proposal. Great to see union muscle being flexed for the right reason.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      I’ve found Mitre 10 Mega to be superior to Bunnings in all the ways that matter (store, layout, prices, product range, checkout queues). Could just be the stores in my area, though.

  4. Rosie 4

    Kia Kaha FIRST and Bunnings workers!

    Following on from the discussion about Michael Woodhouse’s proposal to write zero hours into law we have zero hours evil twin, insecure hours, rear its ugly head this week.

    Insecure hours are just as unacceptable, (or for arguments sake, only slightly more acceptable as you know you will get paid). Your boss cannot own your life. You need regular rostered hours week in week out to schedule your personal life.

    We were at the Lyall Bay Bunnings store earlier this arvo. When we pulled up we saw the picket.

    We said hi and were given a flyer making a suggestion about what customers can do. You can contact Bunnings general manager Jacqui Coombes and “remind Bunnings their workers deserve the simple security of fixed hours”.

    Ms Coombes can be contacted on JCoombes@bunnings.co.nz or 021 497 496. This information is on the FIRST flyer being handed out to customers. (Not sure if the mods are ok with a phone number being given out).

    Remember, if Bunnings back down and don’t introduce clauses in support of insecure hours, it’s not just the union members that benefit, it’s all the workers. As customers we can do our bit to support the workers by contacting Mc Coombes.

    • savenz 4.1

      Yes by all accounts Ms Coombes is a pretty fair person. I really hope she uses her position to make sure her employees have in writing, fixed hours. There is a moral obligation to do this as most people have commitments outside of work and need hours to reflect this. If there are some people out there who are happy to be flexible – great, but keep it strictly voluntary.

      The other issue is when people’s hours and shifts are constantly changing then it creates work in other areas too like IT and payment and so forth – changing hours are not this amazing saving that the right wingers like to think it is. It is more a way to disempower employees who surprisingly reciprocate and have zero loyalty and if their employees doesn’t give a damn about them, why should they give a damn about their employer?

  5. Rosemary McDonald 5

    Slightly sideways here….but I was chatting to the checkout person at Pak n Save, Clarence St in Hamilton the other day.

    Happy worker, good pay rate and working conditions, the Boss treats staff well.

    Also heard that Noel Leemings base hourly rate for floor staff is respectful compared to other appliance retailers.

    Good on Bunnings staff for making a stand.

    Note to retail employers…we, the customer, will be asking your staff about their pay and working conditions….and shop according to our consciences.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Noel Leemings was bought out by The Warehouse, who truly do make an effort to put workers first. They’re still not as good as they perhaps ought to be, but the make a genuine effort and are leading the way in the industry.

    • Liam 5.2

      Clarence Street Pak’n’Save rates weren’t given by the employer, they were negotiated for and won by First Union.

  6. Ad 6

    Has anyone considered the potential consumer power of the entire Standard readership?

    If we decided to, we would be a very powerful activist lobby against bad companies.

    We would have to agree on our targets.

    • gsays 6.1

      hi ad,

      howzabout divide up the oil companies that we by fuel from.
      eg jan,feb march bp
      april, may june caltex
      july august sept, z
      oct, nov dec challenge.

  7. Ad 7

    Hey gsays you can’t pull a major campaign out of the air.

    Draft a post up setting out which company you would target, and why.

    Or a post building on this Bunnings one proposing a full boycott.

    With half a mil readership, this site has massive latent power.

    Set out clearly how, and why, you would use it.

  8. lprent 8

    I was planning on heading to Bunnings tomorrow to pick up a bathroom shelf for my shaving gear (who knew that growing a stubble beard required more shaving gear?).

    The plumbers place shut at 1pm and isn’t open tomorrow.

    Any other suggestions for this bearded Newton DIY?

  9. Ad 9

    LPrent there is a specialist men’s shaving shop at the top of Pitt Street near its intersection with KRoad.

    Failing that hang out with the proles at Briscoes.

    • lprent 9.1

      I have all that gear. Picked up some at a sale at Briscoes a year or two ago. It is nice only having to cut back the stubble every few weeks.

      Problem is that there is no shelf space in the bathroom for it.

  10. lurgee 10

    I was going to buy some plant pots and mousetraps today, but held off in solidarity.

  11. Mike the Savage One 11

    With all respect to the workers taking a stand, a few hours strike will hardly impress the employer. Workers in this country are divided beyond recognition, as it has been turned into a country of ME first, and stuff the rest, so most are lone fighters, if they dare or bother fight at all.

    And Bunnings are just part of the oligopoly that dominate the local building and DIY supply market, same as the grocery business is cut up by the two big players. But with all the occasional debate about this, nothing seems to ever change in little New Zealand. Perhaps learn from the French and pile up some tyres on the motorway and set a signal?

  12. Atiawa 12

    They will beat it. 15%

    Whose expense?

    Bring back compulsory unionism, Level it up. Get some enjoyment from life,for fuck sake.

    Workers of the World Unite.

  13. RedBaronCV 13

    Can we advise the CEO that we will all be going into Bunnings in the near future and will require extensive rpoduct advice from their skilled staff before we purchase a $1 item so they will need to think about hiring more people for the same turnover?

  14. Dan1 14

    I will not use Bunnings while this contract is in place.

  15. What we are seeing here is a disturbing trend of Corporations following bad New Zealand Corporate Talley’s in walking away from bargaining. Bunnings are just one of many who are positioning themselves to do the same.. Others we know of are the Red Shed, AirNZ.

    The circumstances surrounding this employment law change appears to be the influence of Corporations in our Government rotting our democracy. Hit them in the pocket through a consumer boycott, like what concerned citizen’s are doing to Talley’s linked below;

    http://www.facebook.com/citizensresistancenz

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