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Teachers Union Supports Youth Rates Strike

Secondary School Teachers Union Supports Youth Rates Strike

Press Release: SuperSizeMyPay.Com/Unite Union

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

High profile support for the ‘SuperSizeMyPay.Com’ strike against youth rates at Balmoral KFC, Saturday 2pm, has come from the Post Primary Teachers Association and well known activist and teacher, John Minto.

The PPTA and Mr Minto are endorsing the young workers decision to take action to highlight age discrimination just as school exams end and students start looking for holiday jobs and extra hours.

PPTA general secretary Kevin Bunker said the teacher’s organisation is supporting the strike because young school students are often those employed by companies like KFC. [1]

“The PPTA supports the young Unite members in their struggle for fair pay for the work they do. Appallingly low rates of pay based on age are unjust. Qualifying for a pay "rise" on your birthday, simply because you are a day older than you were yesterday, does not make sense. It is time to supersize the pay of these young people.”

Well known activist, teacher and PPTA member John Minto, said that industrial action was an important element of democracy in society and the workplace.

“Fast Food workers are already low paid and when their low pay is further 'downsized' because of their age, it is not only discrimination but seriously impacts upon the lives of young workers, particularly on their education and, therefore, their future” said Mr Minto.

“By making the decision to strike, these young workers have become part of an age-old movement for equality and solidarity against discrimination. They are not just taking a stand for the future of all young and low paid workers, but also for the democratic future of our entire country” he said.

KFC Balmoral worker, Sam Van Der Kolk, 15, who earns $7.13 an hour, was one of the workers who voted for strike action last Friday and is taking on an extra 20 hours for the Christmas break. [2]

“This is my first job and this weekend will be the first time I’ve ever held a placard. I’m going to be the first of all of my mates to ever go on strike,” said Mr Van Der Kolk.

“I’m looking forward to going on strike to let the community know we are getting paid crap - I’m doing it for everyone,“ he said.

SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign coordinator Simon Oosterman said that the widespread support from groups like the secondary school teachers union signals broad public support for the Unite union campaign against youth rates, for a fair $12 minimum wage and secure hours.

“Young workers would be happy if they got an 80% discount on the cost of buying Christmas presents or a Christmas dinner – but a better Christmas present would be being paid more than 80% of the paltry adult minimum wage,” he said.

“The adult minimum wage hasn’t kept up with the skyrocketing cost of living, meaning that this years Christmas will be remembered by many as one of the most expensive.”

**********

[1] Fast food chains are the highest employers of youth in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

[2] “Minimum Wage Workers Vote For A Strike At Million Dollar KFC Store”, 25/11/05, SuperSizeMyPay.Com, http://supersizemypay.com/minimum_wage_workers_vote_for_a_strike_at_million_dollar_kfc_store

* Youth workers earning as little as $7.13 an hour voted 100% in favour of striking on December 3rd at the million dollar refurbished Balmoral KFC store.

* Currently staff at KFC have a starting rate of $9.50 for 18 years and over, $8.55 for 17 year olds, $8.08 for 16 year olds and $7.13 for 15 year olds.

* The New Zealand minimum wage for 18 years and over is $9.50, $7.60 for 16-17 year olds and no youth rate for 15 year olds.

ENDS

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