DESCRIBED as a “bittersweet” victory, a pay rise for Sanford’s Bluff workers has been welcomed by employees.
Thirty six Sanford employees voted unanimously to accept the fishing company’s pay offer, which had been negotiated by E tu and Living Wage advocates.
The employees would have an increase of $2.80 to $3.80 per hour in their wages, which meant 98% of Sanford Bluff workers would be earning the Living Wage or above.
Most employees were earning the minimum wage of $17.70.
The 17 workers who lost their jobs in July due to changes to Sanford’s processing sites would also receive back pay at the new rates up to their last day of employment.
E tu organiser Anna Huffstutler said Sanford finally listened to the community and workers
“This is a fantastic victory for our members, but it is also bittersweet given we just had 17 job losses.”
Sanford Bluff delegate Linda Bevin said the pay rise would make a huge difference to their lives, and also increase the confidence in the company.
“We had a big loss but, finally, we had some good news. It is a breath of fresh air and also gives us more faith in the company. They listened to us.”
She said the negotiations were valid for one year.
“In 10 months, we will start the fight again.”
Sanford chief people officer Karen Duffy was delighted to be able to offer a substantial increase to Bluff’s workers.
“We are proud to be in Bluff and we’re proud of our team… It’s our ongoing mission to achieve fair wage settlements for all of our people, regardless of where they work in New Zealand.”