Fast-food workers, organised in the Unite Union, have been at the forefront of a campaign against zero-hours work contracts. Such contracts lock employees into permanent employment while denying guaranteed hours of work. The Unite Union led a successful struggle in the mid-2000s for a minimum wage hike and the end of youth rates.
By Jared Phillips, CWI NZ/Aotearoa
The campaign against zero-hours contracts has had successful launch meetings in the main centres. There have been enthusiastic strikes at Wendy’s stores in Auckland, Christchurch, and Palmerston North. There may be strikes in other major chains if the employers do not agree to guaranteed hours in upcoming negotiations.
The campaign against zero-hours contracts has gained widespread public sympathy. A popular weeknight current affairs show has featured stories on the issue several times. The public sympathy has forced National’s Workplace Relations Minister to concede that some adjustments must be made but they will be very minor at best.
Socialists support the guaranteed right to a job with decent wages and full work rights for all workers. There should be a shorter working week, with no loss of pay, in order to share out available work. This campaign steps in that direction.