Bunnings workers 'pleased' by heart U-turn

By Shawn McAvinue -
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The Bunnings management initially "put their foot down'' and forced staff to remove the defibrillator from the store and give it to a community group. Photo / iStock
The Bunnings management initially "put their foot down'' and forced staff to remove the defibrillator from the store and give it to a community group. Photo / iStock

Bunnings has had a "change of heart'' and will put defibrillators in five of its stores, including Dunedin's.

Bunnings NZ marketing manager Valerie Staley said Bunnings was reviewing its position on having defibrillators in its outlets following "constructive feedback'' from customers and staff.

Bunnings management forced the removal from its Dunedin store of a defibrillator that the store's social club raised $1300 to pay for after a colleague died from a heart condition.

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In a statement last night, Ms Staley said Bunnings would be working with a "respected provider'' to put defibrillators in five of its stores, including those in Dunedin, Nelson and Gisborne.

"We will also continue to honour our commitment to donate any existing units to local community groups.''

A Bunnings Dunedin staff member, who did not want to be named for fear of disciplinary action, said last night they were "very, very pleased'' with the sudden "change of heart'' by Bunnings.

The removal of the defibrillator had caused "a lot of bad feeling in the store'' and Bunnings had lost scores of customers, the staff member said.

The new defibrillators would help Bunnings make amends with its staff and customers, they said.

First Union retail and finance secretary Maxine Gay said she was "delighted'' with the change of heart but believed the defibrillators would have remained banned from Bunnings stores if the Otago Daily Times had not brought the removal to the nation's attention.

Whilst we have been criticised for not making comment on this subject earlier, it was important to ensure we were clear on our position and able to make an honest, informed response.

Gay hoped the review would reveal Bunnings should put defibrillators in all its New Zealand stores.

Staley said there was some misinformation in the media about the issue, including First Union raising the defibrillator issue for discussion, she said.

Feedback from Bunnings customers and staff was important and had given Bunnings the opportunity to review its approach, Staley said.

"Whilst we have been criticised for not making comment on this subject earlier, it was important to ensure we were clear on our position and able to make an honest, informed response,'' Staley said.

- Otago Daily Times.

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