Victory for the workers at Cotton On

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, April 1st, 2015 - 29 comments
Categories: boycott, business, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

FIRST Union reports:

Workers from the Cotton On distribution centre are welcoming substantial improvements in wages and working conditions says FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.

“This morning workers from Cotton On distribution centre in Auckland ratified the first ever collective agreement between Cotton On and FIRST Union”.

“Cotton On’s Chief Financial officer arrived from Australia for the negotiations and we managed to settle on substantial improvements to wages and working conditions” says Robert Reid.

“Not only were rest and meal breaks restored, but wages were lifted from levels around the minimum wage to levels approaching the living wage. The new collective agreement also includes a redundancy package and penal rates for overtime work”.

“Workers at the Cotton On distribution centre are pleased with the outcome from negotiations. FIRST Union also thanks the public for their generous and overwhelming support” says Robert Reid.

National may have trumpeted their employment law reforms as being about “fairness” and “flexibility” but the public are quickly seeing through that …

29 comments on “Victory for the workers at Cotton On”

  1. Olwyn 1

    Yuss! Go First Union! Go Robert Reid! Brilliant! Another glimmer of light.

    • weka 1.1

      +1, some good news!

      What’s the significance of the Australian dude coming over?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Experience negotiating with union reps? Perhaps the local managers have right wing brain syndrome.

        • Sanctuary

          In my experience, NZ corporate managers are more often than you’d credit raving Thatcherite class warriors who have for an entire generation now grown accustomed to untrammeled workplace power. For this generation of NZ managers the idea of negotiating with a union is akin to negotiating with terrorists.

          Australian management often come from a more balanced environment, understand the social contract they have with workers and understand the role of unions, and therefore tend to treat them as legitimate negotiating partners.

          • KJT

            NZ managers have gotten away with cost cutting, by cutting wages, for so long now, they haven’t learnt any other management competencies.

            Aussie ones still have to look at actually managing.

  2. Rosie 2

    What an achievement FIRST, there are some great gains in that agreement. Well done for hanging on in there and persisting. Tonight you can celebrate!

    • Skinny 2.1

      +1 Collective muscle won through, helped along by the thousands ready to boycott and picket their stores.

      Another hiding for Key, must of considered wearing sunglasses in the House today, to cover up the black eye and bruises he has suffer lately.

      I see they are counter spinning on bad bosses, offering a slap with a wet bus ticket.

  3. The Real Matthew 3

    “National may have trumpeted their employment law reforms as being about “fairness” and “flexibility” but the public are quickly seeing through that …”

    This outcome would seem to be a perfect example of flexibility and fairness. Both sides brought a lot of ideas to the tables and they worked together to achieve a satisfactory outcome for both parties.

    I think this shows National has the balance about right.

    • Wynston 3.1

      Umm … wasn’t there a strong public backlash against Cotton On’s actions/proposals somewhere along the line that led to it backing down? One can hardly call that “working together” other than in respect of the union and the public!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2

      The outcome wasn’t achieved by National, it was achieved only when the company went over the local managers’ heads and brought in someone competent at retaining good staff.

      • Jesus Wept 3.2.1

        Do you do fencing (real?) Matthew. Think you got your bendy tip on us lefty chests huh.

        Nuh, what happened was, Postie and Cotton Off got a first taste of what happens when applying an ideology that has played on a neanderthal reaction from the kiwi darkside for too long, but actually did over something that grandad and grandma fought for (morning tea for Christ’s sake) and what do you get? That’s right, the National hack’s worst nightmare. Good press for real people supplied by an unscrupulous corporate realising that people might actually not buy their f#&king stuff. Wham bam Mutt.

        Robbie Reid you rock. Grew the economy a notch too, who’d a thunk it.

    • Skinny 3.3

      Bit slow off the mark with an April fool joke coobah. This scumbag corporate clobber outfit got a clip around the ears. Personally I was hopeful that they held firm and let us enforce a boycott, would have sent a wider message to other bosses not to mess workers around.

    • What absolute rubbish. It shouldn’t take massive public outcry and threats of a boycott for a company to give its workers basic minimum rest periods.

      Yet that’s the situation we have under National.

      • KJT 3.4.1

        I hope Unite can do something for those who have already been on zero hours contracts without breaks for some time. My daughters barista class was told that breaks do not happen in the hospitality industry.

        The worst aspect I can see, is they are expected to be on call 7 days a week without pay and then have to be at work at a few hours notice, so they cannot have holidays, even if they could afford them. Taking on a portfolio of part time jobs is also impossible because of the uncertainty of hours.

        The employers have shifted the cost sf having workers “on call” to the workers.

        So far it seems to be rampant in Hospitality, Tourism, companies that hire out casual workers and fast food joints.

        The worst is yet to come as employees will be allowed to walk out of contract negotiations and bring in scabs.

        • weka

          Yep, and it’s not just evil big employers. Small businesses run by otherwise decent people seem to think these practices are ok.

          • KJT

            Often it is a case of being forced to the lowest common denominator to compete.

            The big fast food companies and the Labour hirer places set the standard.

      • Skinny 3.4.2

        Yes and as you know Ms Rodgers it’s the likes of Barrnet & O’Reilly + EMA boss Kim Campbell that do these retail/fast food sweat shops bidding, by lobbying Nact for ‘more flexibility’ from workers. The cut both way diatribe is only window dressing for a gullible public. These greedy scumbags want so much flexibility workers wear leotards while working.

        While the CA is a win, it is also a lost opportunity for us to march into city’s & towns and picket and boycott Cotton On and march into every store in town making sure the slaves have support. We could have got every last one of them recruited into a Union, and the bosses would have been too shit scared to stop us. A retail sector CA. Teach the sons and daughters of the Tories (obviously not all are blue) they have been conned following mummy & daddy’s blue ribbon vote.

        • miravox

          While the CA is a win, it is also a lost opportunity for us to march into city’s & towns and picket and boycott Cotton On and march into every store in town making sure the slaves have support

          However it’s a great opportunity to stress how public censure of bad management practises and how union involvement in negotiations can produce better outcomes. Congratulations to FIRST Union, the public who supported workers’ rights, Cotton On staff and the management who negotiated in good faith.

          Shame on the current government for creating the environment for the erosion of workers rights and I hope the management who used these provisions are demoted (or lose their contracts) and have nothing whatsoever to do with negotiations – ever.

  4. Lionel 4

    Well done that’s great news.

  5. Ad 5

    Totally awesome news!
    Unions forever.

  6. Penny Bright 6

    Very good news.

    Penny Bright

  7. Philip Ferguson 7

    There’s a good bit of info in the piece “Cotton On workers win pay and tea-break victory:


  8. hoom 8

    Congrats to both sides: successful negotiation by Union & to Cotton On for coming to a more reasonable position.

  9. fisiani 9

    So the correct position is that there was never any risk to the workers tea breaks and it was just a media beat up by the Union and that a satisfactory and legal deal was completed as planned all along. Hardly a victory. Make a false claim and when it never arises claim a great victory. Do you really think we are so gullible as to fall for the Union’s claims?

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