SUCCESS: Cotton On will keep paid breaks for staff!



Exciting news! Cotton On released this statement via Twitter just moments ago…

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How awesome is that? You spoke. They listened!

Well done to everyone that applied pressure today. Together we sent more than 100 faxes in just a couple of hours. This is another massive victory for people power! Next up Postie Plus? We’ve heard from our friends at First Union they’ve been up to no good too. Watch this space for more info. But for now, let us rejoice in the power of collective action.

PS. You can still use the form on the right to send CottonOn a message to say thanks for making the right decision.



Retail giant Cotton On has become the first company in New Zealand to try and take advantage of the new "tea break law". [1]

The Australian retail chain is looking to remove compulsory tea and meal breaks for its workers at their distribution centre in Auckland following the passing of the controversial Employment Relations Amendment Act in October. [2]

The Act changed workers' entitlements to rest and meal breaks and allows employers to walk away from collective bargaining.

Cotton On have been negotiating a collective agreement with First Union since July last year over its employees breaks. Both parties had originally agreed to paid meal breaks every five hours and a rest break for 15 minutes every four hours worked.

However, once the Government's law change to tea breaks came into force the company submitted a late claim to remove tea and meal breaks for its employees at the Auckland centre.

Following a media story yesterday and a deluge of comments from members of the public on the official Cotton On Facebook page, the retail giant released a statement last night to say, “Negotiations are currently in place… with no agreement having yet been made.”

This is the perfect time for us to take action and let Cotton On know that Kiwi workers deserve better. We’ve set up this handy tool that converts your emails into a fax!

Mass email can be great, but sometimes what a campaign like this needs is some clever use of old technology to cut through. Think about it; the HR Department at Cotton On probably receive hundreds of emails a day compared with a handful of faxes. We’ve acquired the direct fax number of the head of Human Resources for Cotton Group Australia. Type in your message to Cotton On using on the form on the right, and it’ll get sent through as a fax later today.

Together, we can send Cotton On a clear message that Kiwi workers deserve better.

More background info:

Here is a copy of the contract from First Union below:

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"What has been crossed out (by the company) had already been agreed and is currently what is happening. But 'in accordance with the Act' is that it has to be negotiated, which it was, but has now been removed." (General Secretary for First Union Robert Reid)

Robert Reid says the proposal to remove breaks is dangerous for the company's employees.

"Worker fatigue is a risk on an industrial site like the Cotton On distribution centre. Removing breaks increases the risk to workers.

"Cotton On distribution workers not only want their breaks, they need them. Yet this has not stopped Cotton On trying to exploit the new law to its own advantage.

"Cotton On is trying to take advantage of a law that was always meant to strip workers of their rights."

Here is a statement from Cotton On, following public outrage on social media:

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~ References ~

  1. ‘No more smoko breaks? Cotton On challenges tea breaks for distribution centre’, One News online, March 23rd
  2. ‘Controversial new tea law comes into effect today’, Yahoo News, March 5th


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