Why the latest Warehouse job sacrifices are the perfect analogy for late stage NZ neoliberal capitalism


The Warehouse employees feel ‘disrespected’ over hundreds of job losses after company claimed wage subsidy

The Warehouse employees are feeling disrespected after the company used the Government’s wage subsidy scheme but is now axing work for hundreds of people.

This is surely the moment when NZ says, ‘Ok, no more. No. You are breaking the ‘everyone gets a bargain’ deal we cut with you in 1982.

The deal went like this.

We would accept the Warehouse gutting all the local stores and destroy community retailing by allowing the fucking Tindall family to import giga tones of cheap shit from overseas IF and only IF they employed huge numbers of people who wouldn’t normally be able to get a job anywhere else.

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They were granted their opportunity to destroy local retailing on the understanding they hired people with minimum skill sets.

That was the unspoken deal as NZ went into the throws of the neoliberal deregulation free market revolution.

Fast forward to 2020 and the Warehouse’s vast free market supply chain is not only part of the vector for the Covid virus, it’s part of the problem of unsustainable naked consumerism.

With the Warehouse dumping jobs, no one is getting a bargain.


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  1. Fuck the warewhare put my favourite shop toy world when I was a kid out of business 6 months after they set up there bargain barn in my hometown in the 90s.

  2. These job losses have been in the making for a long time. Take my local warehouse. Brand new one in Silverdale – no point having an older, smaller store in Whangaporoa within 10 minutes driving time. I believe these are some of the job losses.

    Additionally the digital wave, exacerbated by covid19 has resulted in a shift in spending habits as people switch to online purchasing. This has downstream effects in big box retailing which arguably now is a sunset industry. The warehouse will need to adapt as their online footprint isn’t large and when given an alternative, better product for a slight increase in price people will arguably choose the better quality product.

    What we should be reviewing carefully is the creep of Australian, US and Chinese online firms selling retail products in the NZ market, Amazon being the best example of this. I’d argue some of their practices are best described as export ‘dumping’. By all means start a war on the warehouse, as the Blairite has already done. When they are gone like Dick Smith or indeed have a smaller footprint, profit, tax take and staff and are replaced by Bezos and co are we better off by purchasing more or less the same products with the same quality from a foreign company (as opposed to a NZ one)?

    P.S. There’s a few dozen Tui ads about Amazon and their ilk paying any tax…..

  3. I’m sorry but I remember no such bargain being made. They offered shit for sale at a cheap price and we bought it.
    They could do this because they rode a paradigm shift from mum and dad stores to large buildings filled with all the crap in the world.
    The irony now is if course that they are laying all these workers off because they have not responded as well to the latest paradigm shift as their online competitors.
    Is suspect that as the Warehouse shed jobs that Mighty Ape etc will add them.
    There has also been a significant uptick in industries such as logistics that support e-commerce, especially since corona virus.

  4. The Warehouse grew in popularity because they were cheap . NZ people were tired of paying over the odds for goods that were
    so much cheaper in Australia . The fact they caused a few small businesses to close was of little concern to most . It was the same years before when the supermarkets caused the close of many small butchers and green grocers . Now the format that the Warehouse operates has changed due to switch in the way people buy. There is an adage in business adapt or die and this has been the case with many NZ icons . A total collapse of a business hurts a lot more people than those effect by this shift in the staff numbers now. The only obligation the Warehouse has to staff is to be as open and honest as they can and to try and assist in their transition to other work.
    There are plenty of people looking for staff so those let go need to be bold and try something new

  5. ” They were granted their opportunity to destroy local retailing on the understanding they hired people with minimum skill sets ”
    Yes and no union with any backbone who would be there to protect them.

  6. Two things made me stop shopping at the warehouse, the first is the green washing. The second is the ripping off of NZ manufacturers.

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