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Migrant Workers Strike For A Fair Slice Of Profit

Migrant Workers Strike For A Fair Slice Of The Profit

Press Release: SuperSizeMyPay.Com and Unite Union

Friday, December 16 2005

Migrant workers will be serving up slices from a giant pizza tomorrow as part of the next SuperSizeMyPay.Com strike action at the Royal Oak Pizza Hut restaurant, 12 noon at 711 Mt Albert Rd, Auckland, Saturday 16th of December.

SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign co-ordinator Simon Oosterman said the fast-food workers were striking to raise public awareness of the disproportionate number of migrant workers on low pay and minimum wage in New Zealand, particularly in Auckland where two thirds of migrants live and study and where the costs of living are highest.

“70% of the striking Pizza Hut store’s workers are migrants or international students. They are often told they do not have enough ‘Kiwi’ experience to seek better paid work elsewhere and have no choice but to work in low-paid and low-skill jobs. Up to one hundred percent of workers in many Pizza Hut stores are either new migrants or international students from India, China and the Pacific Islands amongst others.”

Unite union delegates held a meeting last night to decide whether they would accept the new collective agreement which was offered by Restaurant Brands following two strikes by their Starbucks and KFC stores.

Royal Oak Pizza Hut delegate Nistha Singh, 17, said that while the company’s new offer recognises the three SuperSizeMyPay.Com claims and includes steps towards job security, the lack of a significant shift in wages and only a 3-5 year commitment to eradicating youth pay discrimination meant that delegates voted unanimously to take further industrial action.

“Restaurant Brands have super-sized the number of their stores, opening the 100th Pizza Hut store earlier this year, they have recently spent millions of dollars refurbishing stores and they have just announced sales of $71.6 million over the last three months that we have been negotiating. Migrant workers and other low paid Pizza Hut workers think that a super-sizing of our slice of the profits if far overdue, accepting anything below $12 would be accepting poverty wages,” said Ms Singh.

“Pizza hut drivers, who are self-contractors, only earn $4.60 per delivery when the company charges $5.50 to customers and provides no financial assistance for petrol or maintenance of the worker’s own car which they use.”

“Unite union has been the first collective voice for many migrants in the fast food industry, which is hard to have as an individual when English is your second language,” she said.

Mr Oosterman said that the fast-food industry plays a significant role in maintaining and widening ethnic pay disparity in New Zealand.

“Migrant workers have come from poor countries to New Zealand to find a better quality of life, but find a high cost of basic living unaffordable on poorly paid jobs. Fast food-companies exploit vulnerable workers who have no choice but to earn low wages, which depreciates the wages of all New Zealanders and keeps labour costs low and profits high for these companies,” said Simon Oosterman.

“Raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour now, in collective agreements and via government legislation, would play an important role in bridging the ethnic pay gap, as well as between rich and poor, men and women, Pakeha and Maori, youth, and the disabled,” he concluded.

The latest offer from the brand owner was made in a meeting between Unite representatives and Restaurant Brands management last Sunday.

ENDS

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