National | Groceries

Supermarket staff promised 10% bonuses as lockdown panic buying resumes

As the announcement was made yesterday by the government that New Zealand would be going into lockdown, supermarket staff were bemused to find they were being overrun again by panicked shoppers trying to get supplies, even though there were no shortages.

But at least they got some good news today.

There were reports of people clearing shelves of products like toilet paper and hand sanitiser and queues for the checkout leading out the door.

People on Facebook informed their friends of the massive rush of people to supermarkets.

In the South Island, resident on Facebook, “Wanaka is mental, I haven't seen it this busy since Christmas. Cars everywhere, people rushing around."

And again Foodstuffs, the operator of New World and Pak'nSave, told New Zealand: “Our supermarkets and integrated supply chain are prepared, and our stores have a good supply of groceries on the shelves. We are again asking customers to shop normally.”

Foodstuffs also said it encouraged everyone to scan the Covid-19 tracer app, wear a mask when shopping, nominate one person in the household to be the designated shopper, practise social distancing, and be patient and considerate of each other.

10% bonus for employees

But, in another statement today, Foodstuffs Co-operatives, Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island confirmed all essential front-line, distribution and a few other key employees nationwide will, once again, receive a 10% bonus on their hours worked while in Alert Level 4 lockdown.

“We’re extremely proud and appreciative of how our teams have jumped straight back into Level 4 mode, operating during these times can be extremely difficult." Foodstuffs North Island chief executive Chris Quin said.

“Providing the 10% bonus during Level 4 is the right thing to do for our essential workers – it’s a positive way we can show our gratitude for the critical work they’re providing right now to keep everyone safe and keep stock on shelves.

“Our number one priority is to look after our teams and supporting them during these challenging times is critically important."

Quin said Foodtuffs was also working to increase staff access to vaccines.

Foodstuffs South Island chief executive Steve Anderson said the company recognised the closure of education and childcare facilities was an additional challenge for some essential team members "and we are working closely with these individuals to make special arrangements"

“As we enter Alert Level 4 across the country we are once again asking customers to #shopnormal, be kind to our teams, look after each other and help New Zealand get through this quickly together. We’ve done this before – by pulling together we are confident we can do this again.”