Cops and Macs

McDonald’s Union says pickets assaulted

By Alan Tristram

Unite Union says that its members and supporters were assaulted by security staff last night at McDonald’s Linwood in Christchurch.

The union says a number of people were shoved, thrown to the ground and stomped on. One person has a broken toe as a result.

A police paddy wagon arrived as the picket ended. Unite said this is not the first time this has happened

Unite says workers at McDonalds are fighting against low-pay, casualisation, poor working conditions and discrimination such as homophobia and sexual harassment.

Police act against picketers

Unite National Director Mike Treen says last week members and supporters were roughly shoved aside and some pushed to the ground by 20 to 30 police.

“They had arrived with two paddy wagons and without speaking to me or anyone else in charge as to what we were doing wrong, the police formed up in a line to shove a peaceful picket away from the entrance to the Queen St McDonald’s store in Auckland,” he says.

“It appeared to us that the police were acting at the multinational companies private security.”

Mr Treen says:”I have been a participant in dozens of union pickets. I have never seen them physically push pickets aside without first explaining what we could legally do or not do.

“In nearly all cases the parameters of the protest or picket were resolved peacefully.

‘Oficcer in charge made no attempt to speak’

“On last Friday’s picket the police officer in charge made no attempt to speak to us. When I approached him he was not interested any any dialogue on the issue.

“The end result was to have 30 cops wasting their time for an hour and a half providing a private security force for the company.”

Unite Union says is writing to the police and the company to demand that this use of physical force by police and security without good reason be stopped.

“We have the right to protest under the bill of rights act,” says Mike Treen “and we will continue to do so. We will continue to picket stores from one end of New Zealand to the other.

“We will exercise our rights lawfully and we hope without further interference from the companies private security force – including those wearing a police uniform.”