Countdown shoppers told 'only buy what you need'

Charn Tiebtienrat
Whāngārei shopper Charn Tiebtienrat says shelves were bare at his local supermarket, Regent Countdown.

Countdown shoppers are being told to only buy what they need to ensure that there is enough stock for everyone.

Supplies to Countdown supermarkets have been disrupted by a strike by workers at its Auckland distribution centres.

About 700 Countdown workers went on strike after the supermarket chain declined to offer pay increases in line with the consumer price index during bargaining for a new collective agreement.

On Friday night, First Union spokesman Jared Abbott said distribution centre workers from the company’s two distribution sites in Auckland had signed a new agreement that would include a 5 per cent wage rise for the next year and a 3.9 per cent increase for a nine-month term in the following year.

* Striking Countdown distribution centre workers secure pay rise, union says
* Countdown strike 'likely' to extend beyond midnight as stock runs low in supermarkets across the country
* Stock shortages at Countdown expected over the coming days as distribution staff strike

A Countdown spokesperson said the company was pleased to have reached an agreement with striking workers, but there were some “knock-on impacts” on the national supply chain.

“Customers may still see gaps on shelves over the coming days while we work to get products back into our stores.

“Beyond this, we’ve worked really hard over the last few months to make sure we’re well prepared in the lead-up to Christmas, despite ongoing global sea freight challenges. We’re working with our suppliers and supply chain partners to mitigate these impacts as best we can and would encourage customers to only buy what they need to make sure there’s plenty for everyone.”

Stocks of some items were also running low at Mt Eden Countdown in Auckland.
Stocks of some items were also running low at Mt Eden Countdown in Auckland.

Customers have complained about the absence of items.

One woman posted on the supermarket’s Facebook page that the shelves looked like “when we first went into lockdown”.

Whāngārei shopper Charn Tiebtienrat said the shelves were almost empty when he went to his local supermarket, Regent Countdown. “This week New World is fully stocked but Countdown opposite is empty.”

Countdown had earlier warned that disruption was likely for some time.

“It’s very likely that customers will see gaps on the shelves over the coming days and potentially weeks, due to the impact this will have on our distribution centre operations – which are already stretched due to the Covid-19 health and safety measures we have in place to help keep team safe.”