By Shane Malva, Unite volunteer
On the 2nd of August, six workers at McDonald’s in Wairau Park, led by their 15 year old delegate, took strike action for higher wages and better conditions.
Many of them feel they are being messed around by the restaurant manager. Issues include not being given enough shifts, not having their issues sorted out and a shocking number being on the wrong pay rate. On top of this they struggle to survive on the pitiful wages and measly hours they are receiving.
At 5pm, 6 workers walked off shift, leaving only the managers to run the store. As rush hour approached, bureaucrats from head office came flooding into the store in an attempt to keep the McProfits flowing. Interestingly however the people in suits from McOpCo weren’t very familiar with doing the work necessary to keep the customers happy and it was clear from the madness inside that the company was losing money and it’s brand image was suffering.
The striking workers held the picket line across the drive through for 2 hours, chanting “Working for nothing really sucks, what do we want? $15!” and calmly explaining to people why they were on strike. The majority of drive through customers were very supportive and tooted their horns in solidarity. A few customers were not supportive and were allowed to drive through to order their burgers.
It was a successful strike action that cost McDonald’s money and reputation. It showed the company that their staff are the ones running their restaurants and making the money. The staff who went on strike developed a confidence that I have not seen for a long time and they were resolute that they will keep striking until the company gives them what they want.