Just two days before Christmas employees of two Bunnings stores have been told their workplaces will close before the year's end.
Staff in Waikanae on the Kāpiti coast and Te Aroha in Waikato were told on Monday their stores will close this Friday, December 27.
At a meeting last Wednesday Bunnings had told employees at the stores they were considering redundancies.
First Union said the apparent basis for the closures was that the company said it was "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".
Kirstin Miller of First Union said the union wrote to the company asking for the consultation period to be suspended until the new year because of the "inadequate notice" to workers and lack of information about the redundancies.
This request was denied and on Monday, two days before Christmas, the company announced it would be closing the stores before the new year.
"This is just cruel," Miller said.
"It's completely unnecessary to blindside employees with terrible news like this just before Christmas.
"Bunnings has failed to provide specific details as to why the stores need to close, and why so suddenly."
Miller said the union had written to the company again on Monday to find out what planning has been made for workers, and details around the decision.
A worker who had been employed at the Waikanae store for two years said they were "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 have gone about this is disrespectful."
Kāpiti Coast District councillor Rob McCann said the closures with such short notice was acting "without care for the community".
"Employees at the Kāpiti cheese factory were at least given six months to find new employment."
"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."
Bunnings New Zealand human resources director Jacqui Coombes said the closures followed a review of its "smaller-format Bunnings stores" in the country.
The two stores had been "challenged" to offer the full range and desired, "despite the excellent efforts of our team, best service", she said.
"Smaller-format stores are often in sites that are older and aren't able to offer the environment we will accept for both our team and customers."
All team members would remain employed into the new year to assist with closing the stores, and the company would work with each team member on options to suit their individual circumstances including roles in other stores.
"This is a sad and difficult decision and our first priority is to take care of our team members who will all have the choice to remain a part of the Bunnings team," said Coombes.