First Union to Fight for Living Wages

Demanding a living wage, as well as better job security and local sourcing in the New Zealand food sector, First Union has launched a new campaign just days after the Commerce Commission’s preliminary dive into the sector found supermarkets in New Zealand are keeping prices up amid low competition.

“Despite [this] workers in our food supply chains are often paid less than the living wage,” said First Union campaign lead Anita Rosentreter.

As the first step of the union’s Food Made Fair campaign, workers at Tip Top will demand a living wage for the second time in two years. In 2019 Tip Top workers went into prolonged negotiations with owner George Weston Foods and caused an Aotearoa-wide bread shortage.

“These workers are passionate about feeding New Zealanders, but they sometimes can’t even afford to put food on their own tables – it’s just wrong,” said Rosentreter.

“Food is the essence of life and the workers who handle it deserve respect, decent work and living wages.”

The campaign hopes to provide a living wage, which will be calculated at $22.75 an hour as of September 1, to workers, as well as protection against unfair dismissal, security of hours, and a focus on local sourcing to support the New Zealand economy.

The campaign reads: “We cannot continue to put profit before people and the planet."