On the day National hiked GST to 15%, Unite's UTU Squad was joined by striking delegates from Jb Hifi stores in New Lynn and Albany. The Wellington JB store also was paralysed by strike. The squad picketed the stores in New Lynn and St Lukes, before busting throughthe front doors of JB's Corporate HQ. Rather than talk to the delegates about the crisis of understaffing, low pay, cutbacks in hours and security, management at Head Office retreated from the reception area and hid behind closed doors. This has been their behaviour throughout with a workforce that is finding its own voice.
The UTU Squad and striking delegates then stuck the following notice to the door-
WHY WE ARE STRIKING TODAY
GST is going up to 15%- but wages stay put.
This is a tax that hits workers on low incomes hardest. The minor income tax cuts will not compensate you for price rises in food, petrol, rent, electricity, internet etc. Woosh have already raised the cost of their monthly plans by $5. Petrol goes up 7 cents a litre. Can you afford to buy the Plasma TVs at the back of this shop on the wage you are on?
THERE HAS BEEN NO PAY RISE IN NEARLY FOUR YEARS
JB workers in New Zealand are paid way less than their counterparts in Australia, who get annual rises.
WE ARE CHRONICALLY UNDERSTAFFED
The wages budget has been reduced by 20%. Hours have been cut back. Workers who have left have not been replaced. People are under more stress as they try to fill the gaps- we are not getting proper breaks.
THE COMPANY IS NOT LISTENING TO ITS WORKERS OR ITS CUSTOMERS.
The union has been campaigning for six months. Every time, the answer from management is 0%. Workers in nearly every other industry get pay rises every year in line with inflation and seniority. Thousands of JB’s customers have signed petitions supporting Jb workers getting fair pay.
THE COMPANY WANTS TO ACTIVELY USE NEW ANTI WORKER LAWS
The Company will use the 90 Day Fire at will law- they can fire any new worker without reason or unfair dismissal process. The Company can demand sick notes from your doctor if you are sick for only one day. The company will try and buy your fourth weeks holiday off you if you are a full time worker- and if you are desperate enough with high prices and no pay rise, you might just be forced to do it. This is not a real choice. This is not a real pay rise. It will mean you will work longer and harder and have less free time for your family and friends.
ITS TIME FOR A FAIR DEAL FOR JB WORKERS
The union is not going to go away. We will continue the guerrilla war against JB hifi forever. Until they give workers a pay rise, there will be strikes, pickets and protests. Nearly 10,000 ex customers have joined a boycott of JB hifi. They are condemned as low paid employers on today’s TVNZ website.
Workers deserve a living wage of $15 per hour. 200,000 people signed Unite’s petition supporting this demand. 61% of New Zealanders also support this, according to a poll taken by the NZ Herald.