Supermarkets are taking a number of safety measures during the coronavirus outbreak, including limiting the number of customers in the shop.
Supermarket workers will be paid 10 per cent extra for working through the lockdown, while vulnerable workers can stay home on paid special leave.
Foodstuffs made the announcement on Sunday, saying all waged front-line, distribution and transport employees across Pak ‘n Save, New World and Four Square brands would receive the pay boost.
It follows calls from unions and others to pay supermarket workers more for working during Alert Level 4, which has triggered extraordinary restrictions forcing all but essential workers to remain home to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Eligible employees would receive a 10 per cent allowance on top of their pay for hours worked during the four-week lockdown.
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The cooperatives also confirmed vulnerable employees would be paid and supported as they self-isolated at home during the lockdown period.
A Foodstuffs spokeswoman confirmed the affected staff would access paid special leave.
Vulnerable workers would be defined using Ministry of Health criteria.
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Foodstuffs North Island chief executive Chris Quin said the cooperatives were operating in extraordinary times.
“We will remain open for New Zealanders throughout the lockdown and in order to do so, we need our key employees on the front-line and throughout the supply chain.
“We’ve been totally focused on keeping shelves full and ensuring our customers and teams are safe. Now that we have a better handle on these things, it’s time to clear up how we’re supporting our committed and essential team members.”
Foodstuffs South Island chief executive Steve Anderson said staff deserved extra recognition for their commitment.
Tali Williams, retail secretary at First Union, earlier said supermarket employees deserved to be paid more for their work during this period.
Many are on low wages – although Countdown has pledged to move most of its staff to at least $21.15 an hour from September.
Williams said the workers deserved to have the essential service they were providing acknowledged.
Workers who contacted Stuff said they were concerned at the risk they were taking on.