The move comes after the company struck a deal with FIRST Union guaranteeing workers a living wage. The deal will see employees who have spent 12 months or more working at the company get an increase from the current pay rate, which is close to the minimum wage of $17.70 an hour, to a living wage of $21.15 an hour. The increase will come into effect from September next year. FIRST Union said the deal came after many months of "tireless" work from all sides. "Our members are thrilled to have stood together, negotiated together, and held out for a great deal that recognises their hard work and provides a clear pathway to the living wage," said Tali Williams, FIRST Union Secretary for retail, finance and commerce. According to Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand, the living wage is defined as "the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life."
It is calculated independently by the New Zealand Family Centre Social Policy Unit and is updated each year.
Michelle Mckenzie, who has worked at Countdown for more than eight years, says the extra money will make a big difference. "A wage rise like this means we can spend less time worrying about making ends meet at home, making us less stressed at work and feeling more secure about our futures," she said. "In my life, it's huge. I have four older kids, and as a family, we can start to do more of the things together that we've sometimes missed out on in the past - $2 or $3 an hour is a really big deal when it comes to living a good life and spending time with your family." Countdown says it is proud of the change. "We're proud to be a good employer and ensuring our team can continue to grow their earning ability is a key part of this," says Brett Ashley, the company's general manager operations. "We've worked hard with FIRST Union to develop a fair path to more income for our team while also balancing the realities of keeping and creating jobs, and keeping food prices affordable for New Zealanders."
FIRST Union said it hopes the deal will set a precedent for other supermarkets to follow.
Hazy skies caused by the Australian bush fires are set to linger this weekend.
Northwesterly winds have blown a hazy plume of smoke across the Tasman Sea, and while it has mostly affected the South Island in recent weeks, it has moved up the country.
The "robust plume" is expected to head to the South Island late on Saturday.
The haze has been causing a yellowish-orange, hue at sunset, making for some sweet sunset photos. Share your photos in the comments!
(Our photo is of the sun setting over the Waitākere Ranges, taken by visual journalist Ricky Wilson.)
Today's announcement is the second phase of AT's pets on trains trial, following the first phase roll out in June. While dogs no longer have to fit inside a carrier to ride the train, there are still some conditions. AT requires them to be wearing appropriate muzzles and leashes, and pets can only travel outside of peak times. Cats and other domestic animals will still have to travel in carriers. Stacey van der Putten, group manager of Metro Services says the trial has gone well. “We’ve had a great response from our customers since the trial started in June. We’ve worked closely with our staff and our operator Transdev to move into this next stage. “This is another step in making public transport more accessible. There are many Aucklanders who may not have access to a vehicle to take their pet to the vet or to explore our city, this will potentially benefit both the owners and the pets.” Councillor Cathy Casey has advocated strongly for pets on trains. “I am very pleased that now all of Auckland’s 106,000 registered dogs can travel by train no matter how big or small they are." AT’s independent survey showed that 56 per cent of people supported having pets on trains while 12 per cent were against it. This next phase of the trial will run until the end of March next year.
When a Christchurch school lost four classrooms to fire, retired AMI Branch Manager Philip Buckingham knew how he could help.
Philip – “ When one of our offices is relocated or refitted as a flexi workspace, there are all sorts of useful items left behind — stationery, file cabinets, chairs, desks, computer monitor arms. For years now, we have gathered it all up and donated it to schools; initially those hit particularly hard by the Christchurch earthquakes. It’s hard to explain, but it’s just in our DNA at AMI to help people. After the Russley School fire, there was an urgent need to get the kids some stationery. On my way home, I went to the school and spoke with the principal, Greg Lewis. We couldn’t have asked for a better principal for the school, he is such a great guy.”
…read the full story here.