Countdown signs off 19% pay increase while hospitality sector drags its feet

by | Nov 17, 2022 | News

Countdown and FIRST Union have formally signed a new collective employment agreement that will see Countdown’s supermarket team across Aotearoa receive average wage increases of 19% over the next two years.

Under the new agreement, the team will receive an average wage increase of 12% in the first year and 7% increase in the second year – meaning an average $4 per hour pay rise for its 18,000 team members across Aotearoa.

The agreement also introduces a number of new benefits including dedicated pandemic leave, an allowance for working unsociable hours, extensions to bereavement leave and earlier sick leave eligibility.

Countdown’s Managing Director, Spencer Sonn says, “We thank FIRST Union for working constructively with us and representing their members’ views throughout this process. We appreciate the valuable insights they’ve brought to the table,” says Spencer.

The agreement also includes:

  • A pandemic leave clause – included for the first time ever, additional leave entitlements for all WHO classified pandemics including COVID-19

  • An unsociable hours allowance for those working between 10pm-1am

  • A security working group — this group will mean team can directly contribute and share ideas for further improving safety measures particularly around customer abuse and theft

  • An increase in bereavement leave including for stillborn, miscarriages and whangai equivalent for family members

  • The ability for team that work across midnight to transfer a public holiday so they can have a whole shift off rather than half/part shifts

The new Collective Employment Agreement comes into effect immediately.

The news comes on the heels of a press release from Hospitality New Zealand claiming any fair pay agreeement between workers and employers in the industry would be ‘scarily complex’.

Hospitality NZ Cheif Executive Julie White claims that “Our society has changed, and hospitality has changed to meet it – serving New Zealanders wherever, whenever, and however they want. Unions will be surprised how far employees have changed. We must be sure any agreement recognises the full breadth of work conducted by employees, and does not force them into a box they don’t belong in.”

A spokesperson for the Unite Union told The Feed that it was ‘presumptuous’ for industry lobby group like Hospitality NZ to make claims about fair pay agreements before negotiations had even begun. He went on to say that “Unions negotiate complex agrrements all the time. It’s what we do”.

About the Author

David Wrigley

David is a writer and musician from Kemureti/ Cambridge. He has been published in Noble Rot, Nourish Magazine, Turbine|Kapohau, New Zealand Poetry Yearbook, and is currently working on his first novel. He has done his time in restaurants in Aotearoa and the UK. Oh, yes. He has done his time.

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