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McDonald’s Backs Down - Agrees to Back Pay

McDonald’s Backs Down - Agrees to Back Pay Union Members

Press Release: SupersizeMyPay.Com/Unite Union Wednesday,

March 15, 2006

McDonald’s backs down on wages threat

McDonald’s informed the union today that it would pay all workers the new minimum wage three weeks early. McDonalds had previously informed the union and individual employees that increase would not apply to union members.

McDonald’s reversed its position after Unite filed legal papers before the Employment Relations Authority 2 weeks ago claiming McDonald’s was actively acting in bad faith during negotiations. The company requested a meeting with Unite yesterday to request the union withdraw the legal action.

McDonald’s letter stated that it was now “committed to treating all crew on a similar basis” and would give union members the same pay increase that it had given to non-union members. The pay rise is separate to wage negotiations.

“McDonald’s says they are paying union members now because they don’t want to discriminate against workers – but that is a bunch of lies,” said Hene Moeke, 18, shift supervisor from Pt Chevalier McDonalds, who had served the company with the legal documents on behalf of her workmates two weeks ago. “Why did it take them so long? There original purpose in only giving non-union members a pay rise was to break our union. They are only going to pay us now because they are scared of us – a bunch of low paid workers who have decided to stand up for ourselves.

“McDonald’s aren’t use to public humiliation and have backed down for the second time. We stood strong when they threatened to sue us for taking legal strike action and we will keep on doing so despite the company’s threats. They are hoping to bully us into accepting what they have offered us – but they have offered nothing but the new legal minimum wage,” she said.

McDonald’s Negotiator Assaults International Journalist

Yesterday’s meeting was called off after the McDonald’s advocate, Mr. Tony Teasdale assaulted an Australian journalist who was filming in the foyer of the Teasdale Associates. The journalist had only arrived in the country and was making a film about unions in New Zealand and was interviewing Mr. McCarten, president of Unite Auckland.

Mr McCarten said that without provocation or warning Mr. Teesdale rushed into the foyer and physically attacked the journalist and wrestled her camera off her resulting on lacerations to her fingers. When she protested he pushed off balance and then ran from the room into his office with the camera.

“Despite several requests for the return of the equipment Mr. Teesdale refused. Therefore the meeting was abandoned. The camera was later returned without the film - obviously Mr. Teesdale doesn’t want evidence of his behaviour,” he said.

Matt McCarten, who was representing Unite union members at the meeting, said that he had written to Mr. Teasdale asking for an apology to the journalist and the return of the film. “Without these conditions being met it will be difficult for our union to accept agreeing to negotiate with Mr. Teasdale.

A complaint will be lodged with the police and the union is taking legal advice about whether to pursue this matter. The journalist does not work for the union.

Unite accepts that tensions are high given that McDonald’s workers will be joining a protest at Britomart at 1pm this Saturday that will march up to Myers Park to join the “Big Pay Out” free concert. The concert includes 8 Foot Sativa, Stylus, Olmecha Supreme, Shona Laing and Geneva.

“However it is worrying when the representative of one of the biggest multi-nationals feels it is acceptable to act in this way” said Mr. McCarten


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