Australian Distribution Staff to Help with Shortage

Reinforcements from Australia have been brought in to ease the staffing shortage as almost 2000 Countdown staff are isolating.

A Countdown spokeswoman said Americold, which runs chilled and frozen distribution centres in New Zealand, was bringing some of its Australian team over as part of its business continuity plan given the disruption omicron is causing.

Americold supports Countdown stores, as well as other local suppliers, with distributing chilled and frozen goods.

More than 1800 Countdown staff were isolating on Monday, up 400 from last week. Some Auckland shops had reduced trading hours to reduce the pressures on staff and Countdown had temporarily closed some deli and bakery service counters, so staff could help in other priority areas, including checkouts and online shopping.

Americold Australia and New Zealand managing director Richard Winnall said eight staff, a mix of senior management and warehouse specialists, had arrived in Auckland late last week.

More than 50 percent of Americold's New Zealand team were isolating, and he expected the Australian team would return when the workforce was near 100 percent.