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Unite Union Employs Slick Marketing Techniques

Unite Union Employs Slick Marketing Techniques

By Keira Stephenson

UNITE union secretary Matt McCarten hopes to bring the union movement kicking and screaming into the 21st century by employing the slick marketing techniques used by big business.

With their SupersizeMyPay campaign, UNITE turned the Mc Donalds slogan back on its branders and used it to draw thousands of low paid workers to the cause, resulting in the raising of the minimum wage to $12 three days ago. (File Image of Matt McCarten by Joseph Barratt)

McCarten is scathing of some of the old union tactics which he says concentrated only on the workers on site and paid no attention to Public Relations.

“Supersizemypay was about winning over the public,” he says.

Until recently, trying to unionise casual, low-paid workers was put in the “too hard basket” by most unions.

People on a minimum wage who may only be in a job for three months, couldn’t see any point in joining, he says.

“Other unions said it couldn’t be done, but we are the only union which has grown,” he says, pointing to the 1000 Restaurant Brands’ workers who have joined the union in the last 10 days.

Restaurant Brands is the parent company of many fast-food outlets such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

McCarten credits UNITE’s growth to its “powerful campaigning organisation” and also the “world first” collective agreement allowance which is his brain child.

Under this new agreement, instead of workers struggling to pay union fees, Restaurant Brands now pays their union fees for them.

McCarten has managed to secure this by claiming union-negotiated collective agreements as intellectual property which the company must pay to use.

If they don’t acquiesce he says he is able to bring in volunteer employment negotiators from Grey Power for every single worker before they sign their employment contracts.

He believes that the spectre of having to listen to a retired person with nothing better to do than negotiate all day has put fear into the hearts of company managers.

He is confident that McDonalds will also agree to pay a collective agreement allowance.


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