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Unclear future for workers

The Warehouse Masterton appeared to be having some modifications to its signage. PHOTO/ARTHUR HAWKES

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The Warehouse Masterton appeared to be having some signage changes, which came after the announcement of potentially 950 job cuts across the country for the retail giant.

It was understood that Masterton employees were informed in meetings held last week that the number of staff hours across the whole company would also be reduced, and staff would no longer specialise in categories in the store.

A spokesperson from The Warehouse Group said that they were unsure how employees may be impacted in Masterton at this stage.

It has been made known however that furniture and white goods retailer Smiths City has taken over the lease of the site occupied by Warehouse Stationery on the corner of Dixon and Bannister streets.

“The changes to the way our stores operate is a proposal at this stage so we can’t confirm how many team members may be impacted,” The Warehouse Group spokesperson said.

“Team members have until [August 8] to advise their availability of hours based on the proposed revised rosters.”

After the news of the restructure, it was also not known if there would be any changes to the layout and structure of the stores within The Warehouse Group [The Warehouse, The Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming, Torpedo7, TheMarket] – there have been reports that some entities would be merging in some instances, although the spokesperson said this was not the case in Masterton.

“There are no plans at this stage to merge our Masterton Warehouse Stationery with The Warehouse store.”

The Warehouse Group was reported to have planned to eliminate about 950 roles total; 782 roles would be going from multiple locations, and a further 137 would come through permanent store closures, although these numbers were not confirmed and subject to change.

This figure included the staff hours cut from multiple locations, as well as further job cuts at their head office.

This was a move that the company said would make them more “agile”, but some unions have been critical of the decision, which some were claiming had taken advantage of covid-19, particularly through the wage subsidy, where they had claimed about $67 million of government funding before the restructuring announcement.

First Union, which represents several The Warehouse Group workers, was critical of the shake-up.

A spokesperson said, “the results of the restructure are due in detail within the next two to three weeks, and at that point we should have a much clearer idea of whether any members are impacted.”

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