The CEO of JB Hi Fi claims that his company has been unfairly targeted by a NZ Union for the simple reason that they are a highly successful Australian retail company.Terry Smart the recently appointed CEO of JB Hi Fi claims that despite his company being unprofitable in New Zealand unions has decided to demand a pay rise for JB Hi Fi who he claims are paid above average wages.
Unite union organiser Omar Hamed claims that he is negotiating on behalf of 100 JB Hifi workers nationwide. He says that New Zealand workers should be paid the same as Australian JB Hi Fi staff despite New Zealand being significantly cheaper to live than in Australia.
Smart said “Our New Zealand operation is not profitable however we are working to be profitable next year”.
He claims that the New Zealand economy is not as strong as Australia and that the Unions claims are unjustified because of “tax differences and cost of living in Australia Vs New Zealand”.
When asked whether JB Hi Fi would close down their New Zealand operation if the company could not make a profit in New Zealand Smart said “It is an option but not one we would want to take. We are planning to turn a profit but action like this does not help. We believe that we have been targeted because we are successful in Australia and that their actions with JB Hi Fi will spill over to other retailers in New Zealand. I believe that they want to create an example with us before they take action against other retailers. They obviously think we are in a position to afford it despite us not being profitable in New Zealand”.
In a statement issued last week the union claimed that they had been negotiating with JB Hi fi management for more than six months for a wage rise for member workers under a collective agreement. The statement said JB Hi-Fi workers are paid $13.50 per hour in New Zealand, saying Australian staff is paid nearly twice as much.
“We pay good salaries and commission and the rate of pay is above the $12.75 minimum wage rate paid by some other retailers in New Zealand. We are one of the top paying retailers yet we have been targeted.”
“If they want a pay rise it would be easier to use our payment as a good example and get people up to $13.50. Why pick on one of the top paying retailers?”
The Unite Union claims that 100 member planned further pickets after disrupting operations at the chain’s Wellington store last Friday.