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Mitre 10 Forced to Pay Living Wage

Published 09 Jul 2019

First Union have been successful at the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) in getting the owner (Jacks Hardware & Timber Ltd) of 2 South Island Mitre10 stores forced into a Collective Agreement and to pay a living wage.

The operator of the 2 stores (Dunedin & Mosgiel) was paying their experienced staff $18.70 p/h but now if the staff are part of the union that figure must be the 'living wage' which next month will be calculated at $21.15, and if they have an industry qualification $23 is the minimum.

First Union had only 6 staff members between both stores which had been arguing for this since 2013. Now with this ERA decision more than 140 staff could get this higher pay rate if they join that union.

The union alleged the Company deliberately stalled bargaining historically, which had led them to the Court action.

In concluding the decision the ERA remarked the previous bargaining had been "long, costly and unfruitful", and were guided by Mitre10's competition pay rates (Bunnings Warehouse) of $20.55 and $21.55 per hour.

Although citing it to be a 'fair outcome' for all parties Jacks counsel had argued this raise would be costing the company a 25% uplift in the wage bill.

This is a first of its kind, precedent setting decision from the ERA which is bound to be replicated further across the retail sector nationally.