Bunnings is the latest big retailer to thank workers for their efforts during the pandemic with cash handouts.
The hardware giant said it would pay its Australian and New Zealand staff in customer-facing roles up to an extra $1000, and support staff up to an extra $500, in recognition of “their truly incredible effort” in the first half of 2020.
“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,” managing director Mike Schneider said.
“Our teams have worked incredibly hard to keep our stores open and safe for everyone.”
Full-time permanent staff will receive cash bonuses and gift cards, while all staff will receive what Bunnings has called a “thank you bonus”.
The SDA, the union for retail and warehouse workers, said the bonuses came after a campaign to have essential workers rewarded for working through the explosion in demand brought on by the coronavirus.
It said Bunnings has joined a growing list of retailers to reward SDA members, including Costco, Woolworths Supermarkets, Coles, Big W, Dan Murphy’s, BWS, JB Hi-Fi and Ritchies IGA.
Bunnings, along with many of the other retailers, experienced a huge surge in demand at the height of the pandemic. In March, it put limits on cleaning and storage products and admitted it was struggling to keep its shelves stocked as customers flooded the stores.
One exhausted employee, known only as Luke, broke down in tears as he told a Melbourne radio station that workers had been pushed to the limit by customer behaviour.
“We are run off our feet, we are trying our best – understand that everyone. And, for those that are giving us respect and are being patient, we can’t thank you enough,” he said.
Woolworths said in June it would give more than 100,000 employees in Australia and New Zealand bonuses after a difficult six months at work.
Woolworths Group chief executive Brad Banducci said 2020’s challenges included not just the coronavirus crisis but protests in Hong Kong, droughts and bushfires in Australia and the White Island eruption in New Zealand.