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Public Rally to Support Low Paid Workers

6 February 2006

Public Rally to Support Low Paid Workers

Community invited to attend Public Rally to Support Low Paid Workers

The community and media are invited to the SuperSizeMyPay.com public rally at the Auckland Town Hall on Sunday February 12, 2pm. The free event will be hosted by Rhombus lead MC Imon Star, who will perform with Olmecha Supreme, and will feature top New Zealand comedians, community speakers and guest bands.

SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign co-ordinator, Simon Oosterman, said that the rally was supported by many community groups and the rest of the trade union movement. "All Unite Union members and the public are invited to join workers from the SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign at the first mass stopwork meeting of fast food workers in New Zealand since the 1980s.

"Workers involved in the SuperSizeMyPay.com campaign have taken symbolic strike action at Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hut to draw public attention to the issues of low wages. In response, a broad range of community groups, including Make Poverty History, the Child Poverty Action Group, the Council of Trade Unions and the Green Party, have endorsed our demands. Before workers are forced to take widespread industrial action - or continue to have their lives being blighted by a low minimum wage, casualisation of hours and unjust youth rates - workers will take their message to the general public and customers." said Mr Oosterman.

"Workers are inviting the general public and fast food customers to listen to first hand stories from low paid workers about the effects of their current work conditions. The experiences of workers clearly shows that it is being underemployed, overworked and underpaid in the world's 29th most expensive city that causes poverty, and not laziness, as reported in a recent Herald article.

"In Manukau, for example, 42% of families spend over half of their weekly wage on rent costs alone, which often leaves no budget for food. All over New Zealand the number of working families using food banks is on the rise.

"Low wages are subsidising multinationals like the big fast food companies who are not paying enough for workers to live on, often leaving workers no choice but to apply for extra benefits from the government.

"Workers are disappointed at the Government's decision that employers are only required to pay their adult employees $10.25 an hour from March 27 and will call on those attending to join low paid workers and community groups in demanding that McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's and Restaurant Brands restaurants Pizza Hut, KFC and Starbucks take the responsibility to pay their workers a liveable wage by paying the campaign demands and setting the industry benchmark.."

Mr Oosterman said that the meeting will also call for support for Sue Bradford's Minimum Wage (Abolition of Age Discrimination) Amendment Bill, and call for youth rates to be abolished for all workers, including those under 15.

"Unless the companies listen to workers and public demands for a $12 minimum wage, the abolition of youth rates and secure hours, fast food workers will be forced to take wide spread industrial action or continue to have their lives disrupted by insecure hours, low pay and age based discrimination" he concluded.

ENDS

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