First McDonalds strike ever in Wellington

mcdonalds bunny street wellington strike

The first McDonalds strike ever in Wellington happened today.

At 8am 5 of the 7 workers on shift came off the job and joined the picket line that had been set up outside Bunny St McDonalds. It was a noisy, lively affair, with Fightback member and Wellington Unite Union organizer Heleyni Pratley leading the way with chants, songs and the occasional speech to the people passing by, explaining why the strike was being held and why the public needed to respect the picket line. Few people tried to break the picket line set up outside the main door and fewer still managed to force their way in.

Management had at the last moment rostered on more non-union staff in an attempt to keep the store running. Yet with few people in the store, the level of staffing was irrelevant. With numerous cars tooting their support, McDonalds management attempted to give out free vouchers to try and entice members of the public to break the picket and come into the store, but after a public service announcement over the megaphone explaining what these vouchers represented, a large amount of people were seen to chuck them in the gutters, still wet from the sporadic rain.

A member of the striking staff spoke briefly on the megaphone about their experiences on the floor, of being paid minimum wage.

The picket was a lively affair, with about 25 present a mix of socialists, activists and trade unionists from FIRST Union, the Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa, the NZ Nurses Organisation and the New Zealand Tertiary Education Union.

After half an hour, the members went back into the store with Heleyni accompanying them to make sure that management (including the franchise owner, who had arrived and stood at the back of the store looking darkly at the picket line outside) didn’t threaten or attempt to discipline the workers for standing up and striking.

While it was a short demonstration, this is an escalation of the struggle for increased conditions for Unite members in McDonalds and in the wider fast food industry. A number of KFC members have already made it clear that a weak McDonalds collective, undermines their own ability to fight for better wages and conditions. 85% of unionised McDonalds workers nationwide have voted for strike action.

A Unite Union ‘War Council’ has been formed in Wellington to coordinate demonstrations and strikes amongst members and supporters.

heleyni mcdonalds bunny st

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