This is appalling treatment of supermarket workers during a pandemic


Coronavirus: New World workers on unpaid leave over lockdown

Workers at New World supermarkets across New Zealand have been told they will be on leave without pay if they are unable to work over the lockdown. 

An email was sent to staff at the Wellington’s Thorndon branch on Friday, and seen by Stuff, saying supermarkets were considered ‘low-risk’ and therefore the company was not eligible for the special leave payment. 

It said those with underlying health conditions who were unable to come to work as a result, would have their annual leave paid out, and when that runs out, would be on unpaid leave.

“You do have the choice to return to work, but that is up to you.”

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The Supermarkets of NZ have just been handed an enormous monopoly by the Government for the next 4 weeks of lockdown and  to hear them abusing their own work force like this is angering.

Those Supermarkets MUST stay open, they are essential to stopping panic riots from erupting, they have been given enormous scope and power and surely must have an obligation to protect its own workers.

While threatening workers with no money if they can’t work, the Supermarket chains had the audacity to sign off such threats with #BeKind.

Supermarkets are essential, the Supermarkets must treat their staff as essential. Those staff are taking an enormous risk by working in a pandemic and should be treated with respect.

Nothing is going to spark panic riots like empty Supermarkets, the Government needs to have a stern word with these bosses immediately.

This is appalling treatment of supermarket workers during a pandemic.


  1. i’ve been to the supermarket , i think there were more staff than customers.

    rather than everyone hunkering down and then , again in 2 weeks time packing out the supermarket .. wouldn’t it be less stressful if people were to , spread , themselves out a little , by being slightly’ more frequent and shopping smaller

    “focus on one simple goal – to slow’ down covid-19” Jacinda Adern (video 1:05min)

    trying times – TDB

  2. Bomber these kiwi institutions like New World which are part of Foodstuffs have never had respect for its under paid workforce.

    Most of these stores are run by a selected family or partnership and it is a very lucrative business to own.

    The Covid 19 lockdown has shown how this organisation behaves in normal times by treating their workers as a necessary resented cost that makes huge profit for its owners and the Foodstuffs conglomerate.

    Respect and # lets be kind don’t mean a damn thing too these slave labour camps.

    I would like too see the worst of them named and shamed but i can’t see that happening too these so called Kiwi institutions that they hide behind while they exploit their most valuable resource.

    They represent one of the worst aspects of the Neo liberal kiwi economy and sadly for its workers a non existent protective union movement that would not let them get away with it.

  3. Just too add my daughter who lives in Wellington has a partner employed at a Foodstuffs store and has worked there for some years and held a managerial position.

    He was overworked because the store was understaffed and poorly run by the new family management.
    He works all the hours god sends but cant make enough too live some sort of a decent life.

    Many of these supermarket workers give their lives first and foremost too these businesses and all other considerations come after that including no social life which is a casualty of seven days a week shopping and late hours.

    The owners of these stores are ” on the pigs back ” and do very well fleecing not just their workers but many in the food industry as well.

  4. Good that you have shown this case and let’s hope at some stage there is some naming and shaming of those that have tried to benefit from this disaster.
    In Melbourne once it was shown that one of the judges on Masterchef had underpaid his staff over a 5 year period his 7 restaurants were boycotted and he had to sell this 4 million dollar house .
    The problem is is Countdown any better at looking after their staff. Needs to be looked into when we get back to normal!

  5. Worked for them once. Never again!
    Shit pay, hard work, no such thing as a weekend: split days off, anti- union, constructive dismissal
    and a psychopathic owner operator.
    No love in my heart for Foodstuffs.

  6. I (used to) regularly shop at NW New Lynn where staff are kind, considerate and go out of their way to help. I didn’t realise how poorly they’re treated by their bosses. Thank you for raising this Bomber and commenters.

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