The Spark February 2009
After a series of strikes, Unite union members at McDonald’s restaurants have a new collective agreement with improved wages and conditions. Their actions included 50 strikes in dozens of stores from Whangarei to Hamilton and a protest outside the company’s national conference. There was a real fighting spirit at several stores, and the vote to settle was only passed by a narrow majority.
Improvements won include a one-off bonus payment, and significant pay rises for team leaders and supervisors. Staff are to have more secure hours, which was one of the union’s key claims. When additional work hours are available they will be offered to existing staff, instead of more part-time or casualised positions being created.
While the agreement has been settled, the campaign is not over. The starting rates for frontline staff are linked to the minimum wage. So if the minimum wage, which is currently $12 an hour, goes up in March, then so too will their wages. Unite is campaigning for the minimum wage to go up by a dollar an hour every year until it reaches $15.