By Paul Hayes
WELLINGTON, NZ: Staff at JB Hi-Fi’s Wellington store in New Zealand have taken what union organisers call the first ever industrial action against the retailer.
Wellington staff went on strike at 1pm today (NZST) after what Unite Union said has been six months of fruitless collective wage negotiations with JB Hi-Fi’s Australian management.
Speaking with Current.com.au, Unite Union organiser, Omar Hamed, said today’s strike will likely be the first of many.
“Members will be taking rolling, sporadic industrial action around NZ until the company makes an offer to improve wages this year.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous JB Hi-Fi has told employees in New Zealand they shouldn’t expect a pay rise this year when over in Australia JB Hi-Fi workers earn nearly twice as much as New Zealand workers.”
Hamed argues that most New Zealand JB Hi-Fi workers are paid around NZ$13.50 per hour, only NZ$0.75 above the national minimum wage. The union is seeking an increase of NZ$1.50 per hour.
“The CEO of JB Hi-Fi was paid $2.9 million in the last year, so the company cannot plead poverty to its employees who have not had a pay rise in two years.”
Union Unite said it expects JB Hi-Fi’s profit this year to be between $117 million and $120 million.
Current.com.au has contacted JB Hi-Fi chief executive Richard Uechtritz and will publish any comments as they come to hand.