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Union claims Bunnings workers 'shocked' to find they will be without a job two days after Christmas

Workers at two North Island Bunnings retail stores were "shocked" to hear of the closure of the outlets just days before Christmas according to FIRST Union. 

Bunnings Warehouse (file picture). Source: istock.com

FIRST Union says branches at Waikanae and Te Aroha are set to close on December 27. 

The union says workers at the stores were told on December 18 that their last day would be on December 27.

Bunnings' apparent basis for the closures was that "we are concerned that we are no longer able to operate the store to a standard we feel meets Bunnings operational requirements, for you, our team and of course, our customers," FIRST Union says.

FIRST Union wrote to the company and requested that due to the inadequate notice to workers and lack of information about the redundancies, the consultation period be suspended until the new year.

This request was denied according to FIRST Union.

"This is just cruel. It’s completely unnecessary to blindside employees with terrible news like this just before Christmas," said Kirstin Miller, FIRST Union spokesperson.

"Bunnings has failed to provide specific details as to why the stores need to close, and why so suddenly.

"We have written to the company again today to try and ascertain what planning has been made for workers here, and what details lie behind the decision."

One worker who has been employed at the Waikanae store for two years is shocked and angry at the closure. "We have lives and friendships here, and our store is doing a roaring trade.

"We were told just three weeks ago that the plan was to move to a nearby location in March 2020. Today we hear this vague statement that ‘the numbers don’t stack up’.

"They have lied to us and the timing is appalling. At this time of year especially the thought of being out of work is very stressful. The way they gone about this is disrespectful," the worker said. 

Kāpiti Coast District Councillor Rob McCann said that the closure of Bunnings stores with such short notice is acting without care for the community.

"Employees at the Kāpiti cheese factory were at least given six months to find new employment," he told FIRST Union.

"Four days notice over Christmas is unacceptable. It’s my hope that any further decision from the company takes into account the workers and their families."

1 NEWS has reached out to Bunnings for comment.