The Warehouse's employment dispute remains unresolved
The Warehouse and the National Distribution Union (NDU), representing more than 2000 of its employees, has yet to finalise employment contracts in the wake of December’s industrial action.
NDU spokesperson Bill Bradford told NBR the new contracts proposed by The Warehouse had not been “ratified” by its members but that the union would encourage them to sign it.
Mr Bradford said the union and the company had reached an agreement but whether it would be a successful outcome depended on the members.
The members are expected to sign the contracts by the end of the month or the beginning of February, he said.
Mr Bradford would not go into detail regarding the content of the contracts or what the union was seeking from negotiations.
Talks between the two parties were tense leading into December but shut down early in the month. The Warehouse’s shares then dropped mid-December on the promise of pending strikes.
This afternoon the shares [WHS:NZX] were trading at $3.95, down 3c on yesterday's close.
The Warehouse human resources director Paul Walsh said the strikes were isolated to certain stores and did not include all NDU employees. Mr Walsh later said the company remained committed to reaching a favourable agreement. NDU represents around 26.5% of the company's workforce.
Concern was raised regarding how the strikes would affect the Christmas trading period, usually a bumper month for retailers. The additional pressures of cash-strapped consumers and a recovering local and global economy did not paint a positive picture for retailers heading into the busy season.
The Warehouse announced this month that Christmas trading had been disappointing. The Warehouse chief executive Ian Morrice said the results were an indication of what occurred in the broader non-food retail market.
Mr Morrice said the company had anticipated steady growth over Christmas but that did not materialise. Mr Morrice said the stationery side of the business continued its performance recovery and was well prepared for the back to school rush.
The company’s half year resulted will be announced on March 12.