JB Hi-Fi CEO calls New Zealand strike action ‘absurd’

By Paul Hayes

MELBOURNE, VIC: JB Hi-Fi chief executive, Richard Uechtritz, has dismissed last week’s strike action at a store in New Zealand.

Last Friday saw a group of eight workers at the Wellington JB Hi-Fi store stop work for an hour in protest over hourly pay rates.

The strike was organised by Unite Union, who argue that the NZ$13.50 hourly pay rate employed by JB Hi-Fi is only NZ$0.75 above the national award rate and is not in line with the overall profits of the retailer.

Speaking with Current.com.au, Uechtritz called the union’s argument ‘absurd’, and questioned why it would attack a retailer who is paying more than it has to, while most other large New Zealand retailers pay the NZ$12.75 minimum.

“We are one of the few companies actually paying NZ$13.50.

“If they went after a retailer who was paying minimum you would think they would have more success.

“It seems we have been selected as one of the companies by which the union wants to make a point.”

Unite Union has pointed to JB Hi-Fi’s annual revenue forecast of between $117 million and $120 million as evidence the company can afford higher wages for its New Zealand workers, vowing further industrial action until its demands are met.

Friday's striking workers were not paid for their hour of protest.
 

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