Bunnings joins in thanking, supporting their essential workers

Leon Walley and Annie Young are team members at the Bunnings store in Bayswater, WA.

Bunnings has joined the long line of retailers thanking their employees for working through the Covid-19 pandemic with a $1000 payment.

The DIY retailer remained open and trading through the pandemic, alongside Woolworths, Coles, JB Hi-Fi and a few other retailers.

Full-time store team members will receive up to the full $1000, while part-time and casual staff will receive a pro-rata payment based on hours worked during the months between January and June. 

Wesfarmers also made similar ‘thank you’ payments at discount department store Big W and liquor store BWS.

Bunnings managing director Mike Schneider said the company already has a history of rewarding its team members, and this year would be no different.

“This year, our team has dealt with a number of challenges with the devastating effects of drought, bushfires and floods in Australia, and on both sides of the Tasman, we’ve dealt with the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Schneider said.

“Our teams have worked incredibly hard to keep our stores open and safe for everyone.

“As always, we’re thanking our team for their truly incredible effort, and will reward them in the best way possible, and we wanted to do this as early as we could after the end of financial year.”

SDA NSW and ACT secretary Bernie Smith said the union has been encouraging retailers to make such payments for some time, and had called on Bunnings as recently as two weeks ago. 

“The payment acknowledges the service Bunnings employees are providing the community – and the tensions and risks they have dealt with professionally over the pandemic,” Smith said. 

“This thank you payment couldn’t have come at a better time, as retail workers return to the frontline of the pandemic in Victoria and parts of South West Sydney.”

Supermarket workers have been some of the most vulnerable workers in the retail industry as of late, and Coles and Woolies both got on the front foot to thank them for their hard work. 

Coles, in May, said it was rewarding workers with up to $750 for working through the extremely difficult circumstances, while Woolworths went a different way and awarded workers up to $750 in company shares. 

“I am incredibly proud of the way that Coles team members have responded to the Covid-19 situation and helped us truly deliver on our purpose to sustainably feed all Australians to help them lead happier, healthier lives,” Coles chief executive Steven Cain said at the time. 

“Thanks to [our workers] efforts, we were able to move record volumes of stock through our supply chain and onto our shelves so Australians could get the food, drinks, and groceries they needed.”

JB Hi-Fi also said it would be giving out a recognition payment for its workers to reflect their work, with sources telling Inside Retail it was similarly up to $1000.

These recognition payments were also part of a campaign run by the SDA, it said, that had gathered over 41,000 signatures. 

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