Magazine of the Socialist Party, Australian section of the CWI

NZ: Mass meting of low paid workers in Auckland

The UNITE campaign in Australia supports the SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign in NZ. Below we publish a report of a successful mass meeting in Auckland. Over 1000 fast food workers and their supporters filled the Auckland Town Hall yesterday to give added impetus to the SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign and to other low paid workers campaigns.

The SuperSizeMyPay.Com fast food campaign is being spearheaded by the Unite Union but is supported by the wider union movement and a broad range of community groups.

Amy Valk, a 19-year-old worker from McDonald?s, said after the meeting that it was ?awesome that we are not alone and the community supports us. It is ridiculous how much wages had been slashed since the 1980s and we will have to take widespread industrial action to win our demands. This meeting gives me the confidence that we can strike in my store.?

Campaign coordinator Simon Oosterman said the meeting represented a big step forward in community support for these workers. ?Low paid and minimum wage workers are challenging some of the largest international companies (McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Wendy?s and Starbucks) and the more support they can get the stronger our campaign will be?, he said.

Unite President Matt McCarten told the meeting that fast food workers real wages had halved in the last 20 years ? a consequence he blamed on the fact that workers in the fast food industry have not been unionised for a generation. ?There comes a time in our lives when we have to make a stand for justice. Today is one of those moments?, he said

Oosterman said that fast-food workers at the meeting voted unanimously to take further action, including industrial action, to support their claims for $12 minimum per hour, an end to youth rates and secure hours of work.

?This action will unfold in coming days while negotiations continue with McDonalds, Restaurant Brands (KFC, Starbucks and Pizzahut) and Burger King. A major day of action across the whole fast-food sector is planned for Saturday March 18 and has been dubbed ?the Big Pay Out?. This will involve a march up Queen Street and a free concert with supporting artists at Myers Park. A website for the day is already established at he concluded.

The Town Hall meeting also threw its support behind Green MP Sue Bradford?s private members bill to abolish youth rates which will be debated in parliament next week.