Joe McClure (Fightback Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington).
At noon on April 15th 2015, Aotearoa/NZ kicked off a global fast food day of action. Workers in more than 200 cities around the world are taking action against the working conditions of fast food workers. In Aotearoa/NZ, McDonalds and Wendy’s restaurants are still forcing zero hour contracts on workers; KFC and Burger King have already backed down.
Unite Union held rallies and strikes in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Members of various unions and the wider community joined in chants protesting the unfair contracts.
Zero hour contracts provide no guarantee of work on a weekly basis, and force workers to compete against each other for the hours available. Zero hours contracts are often inflicted on people who are already vulnerable, including women returning to the workforce after having children, immigrant workers, and young people taking a job while they study. The campaign against Zero Hour Contracts has gathered recent momentum with positive media coverage and strikes planned across the country.
The National government in New Zealand has implied that they may ban zero hour contracts, but Minister of Workplace Relations Michael Woodhouse has repeatedly declined to comment on the situation, and National Party leader John Key told media, “general flexibility in the workforce is also important, because there are some people who want to have that flexibility.”
Only community-driven action can guarantee secure hours and living wages.