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Unite Union Rocks

Saturday, March 182006

Unite Union Rocks

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Over 1000 workers and supporters marched up Queen St to the Big Pay Out concert today to rock against youth rates and for a $12 minimum wage and secure hours.

The noisy protest was a part of the Unite union’s campaign and featured New Zealand bands: Geneva, Shona Laing, Olmecha Supreme, Stylus and 8 Foot Sativa.

“Chief executives have been celebrating last years pay rise - their biggest in 15 years,” said Simon Oosterman, media spokesperson. “But today, striking 15 year old’s – some earning as low as $6.89 per hour - joined their older co-workers in the Big Pay Out mosh pit saying that it’s our turn.”

Today’s march began at Britomart when McDonald’s and Starbucks Downtown walked off the job to join supporters and striking workers from fast food stores across Auckland including the Pizza Hut national call centre. Protest chants included “I say union, We say power!”,“3,6,7,9: Never cross a picket line” and “2,4,6,8: No more youth rates!”

When the march stopped briefly to pick up Queen Street McDonald’s workers, shift-manager Kunal Kumar told the crowd that the company had rostered off all union members from his store. “I’ve been at McDonald’s for 6 years and this is the last straw - it’s time to fight.”

Mr Oosterman said that the campaign was becoming a movement as it spread out of the fastfood industry and into the community.

“The New Zealand University Students Assocation is the most recent organisation to join the growing number of community groups supporting our campaign. At the end of this month the Council of Trade Union will be launching a cross-union campaign for the demands across New Zealand,” he said. will be actively supporting this Monday’s school strikes led by Western Springs College and organized by the young school students and workers from Radical Youth.


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