Anti McDonalds Action



By Alan Tristram

The Unite Union says New Zealand will be the first of 30 countries that will be seeing protests against McDonald’s today in a global day of action over abuse and exploitation of migrant workers.

NZ action centred in Auckland

The action, in Auckland, has been organised by Unite Union and starts at 6pm outside the McDonald’s store in Balmoral.

The global protest was called by the National Guestworker Alliance in the US.  It says cases of labor abuse at McDonald’s show the fast food giant’s failure to set even the most basic labor standards for any of the 1.8 million workers at its 34,000 restaurants around the world.

The Alliance says: “McDonald’s sets standards for its franchise owners on trivial aspects of food presentation—while having no standards to protect

the workers who generate $US27.6 billion in annual revenue for the corporation.”

Widespread unionisation

New Zealand is one of the only places in the world to have widespread unionisation of fast food workers. Unite Union has collective agreements with all the major brands and is currently in dispute with McDonald’s over a renewal of their collective agreement.

Despite that fact Unite Union claims that McDonald’s has been taking advantage of the vulnerable position young migrant workers on student and temporary work visas.

Unite says: “Because promotion to a managers role was a precondition to being able to progress to permanent residence many franchisees and managers would use false promises of future reward to get staff to work through their breaks and unpaid overtime. Promises of promotion and training often went unfulfilled while pay often didn’t match the actual role workers were fulfilling.

“The manager’s salary has been reduced by 30% or more in real value over the 20 years. At the same time the stores have become larger in both product volume and employment terms. Restaurant Managers at McDonald’s get around $40-45,000 for running a 24/7 operation with up to a 100 staff and millions of dollars in turnover annually.

“The job is only paid as a 40 hour a week position, but inevitably managers are working an extra 10-20 hours a week without pay.”