Union targets freight firm
Listed clothing retailer Postie Plus Group does not expect any operational or financial impact from the industrial dispute between logistics company Kuehne + Nagel and some workers who are members of First Union.
"We have been advised by K + N management that the strike action which began today in Auckland will not affect the flow of stock to our national store chain," Postie Plus chairman Richard Punter said.
The retailer outsourced its national distribution centre in Auckland to Kuehne + Nagel last year.
"We understand from K + N that only a small minority of the staff that operate the distribution centre that handles our stock is on strike," Punter said.
First Union organiser Jared Abbott had said the strike over pay would affect the company's New Zealand customers, including Postie Plus.
"In saying they regretted that the strike could affect PPGL, the union has rather overstated the actual situation as we know it," Punter said.
"The equity market can be assured that PPGL is very familiar with this specific link in our supply chain and is closely monitoring the situation to ensure efficient on-time execution of deliveries to our stores."
Further comment was unnecessary, Punter said.
Postie Plus has battled distribution problems since it outsourced its distribution to Kuehne + Nagel in February last year.
The clothing retailer blamed those problems for Postie's $2.56 million loss for the six months to February 3, and a 14 per cent drop in sales for the third quarter compared to the same period a year earlier.
It has warned investors it will report a significant loss for the year.
Postie shares were last trading at 14.5 cents a share, a 27.5 cent fall from year-ago levels.
Kuehne + Nagel managing director Troy Hageman has said the company did not think the strike action would have any impact on its customers. It was working with other staff to ensure the centre's continued smooth operation.
About 10 fulltime workers were on strike today, representing less than 5 per cent of the company's New Zealand work force of 230 employees, Hageman said.
However, the union said about 20 workers were striking, representing a much higher portion of the company's Auckland staff.
Hageman said the company was involved in the collective bargaining process and had offered wage increases based on market assessments and increased overtime rates.
The company and workers had attended mediation this week in an effort to progress matters, he added.
"We are extremely disappointed that the employees and their union have undertaken strike action while we are still actively working through this bargaining process." Kuehne + Nagel paid above minimum wages, offered health benefits and other entitlements, Hageman said.
First Union said it expected the strike to continue for the rest of today and Monday.
The union said the workers were striking in a bid for better pay and to stop the company's hostility towards union workers.
The company's union members had been bargaining since April, but had been unable to achieve a "substantial" improvement in wages, the union said.