Union culture is growing stronger all the time at Foodstuffs’ new distribution centre in Palmerston North.
Last year Foodstuffs completed the move of its major lower North Island distribution centre from Silverstream in Upper Hutt to Palmerston North.
The new Roberts Line site became operational in January 2010 and was in full swing two months later.
Kelvin Giles worked for another Foodstuffs company Toops Wholesale, and shifted over to the Roberts Line site from the start. He is one of the NDU’s delegates on site.
“We’ve made a lot of progress – when I came over from Toops, we had 8 members, we’re now up to 50,” Kelvin said.
Getting workers on their correct pay has been a major issue, he said.
“We’ve got jokers in here that have been here since day 1 that are Store person 1 classifi cation that we believe should be store person 2.”
“There’s some bloody good bosses here that do the worker assessments, but their managers seem to be hanging back and not giving them the increase.”
Kelvin said he had overheard some managers argue that it doesn’t mean a lot of money, only 73 cents.
“For workers on $14 an hour 73 cents is a lot.”
“I had someone who checked their payslip to see if this year’s increase was there, and they hadn’t even been paid last year’s increase. We got him $1,000 back pay and he’s as happy as a sand boy.”
(Source: National Distribution Union)