The supermarket industry has done incredibly well throughout the pandemic. As one of the two big players in the industry Countdown is making a fortune out of New Zealanders, but now they've changed their policy to force workers to use their sick leave if they contract Covid-19. Tell Countdown's Managing Director - "give your workers back their COVID leave."
To Spencer Sonn - Managing Director of Woolworths New Zealand:
The people who work at Countdown have been at the forefront of the country’s fight against Covid-19. They worked through the lockdowns and elevated alert levels and continue to offer the best customer services and experiences to ensure public access to essential items. With the current Omicron staff shortages, many have been working 6-7 days a week to support your company and our communities.
Both your company and the Government have repeatedly praised these essential workers for the exceptionally hard work and great service they have been delivering to Countdown and to the public throughout the pandemic. Despite the stress, fear, customer aggression, panic and fatigue.
You have claimed that your priority has been to ensure your workers are well supported during difficult times.
Despite this, you have changed your policy so that workers must first use their sick leave if they contract Covid-19.
And you have made these choices at the height of the pandemic.
Supermarkets are essential services. They need to stay open for everyone regardless of their individual vaccination status. That means your workers are constantly at severe risk of contracting Covid-19.
You are forcing the people who work for you to exhaust their sick leave, leaving nothing for the near future when they or their family get sick or injured.
The Government has even offered companies including yourselves support to do this. By choosing not to do so you are making your workers pay the cost of COVID while you reap profit.
Do the right thing. Pay your workers Covid-19 discretionary leave.