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Lightening Strikes Twice At Starbucks

Lightening Strikes Twice At Starbucks

Two Starbucks stores in Auckland were closed Saturday for two hours after a lightening strike by Starbucks workers.

Starbucks workers at 220 Queen St and K’Rd were taking part in the next stage of industrial action in the SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign.

Thirty minutes before the workers took industrial action, they sent out a txt calling for support and in half an hour the workers were joined by 40 supporters, customers and members of the public.

Workers from Queen St McDonalds, who were also striking for the SuperSizeMyPay.Com demands of $12 minimum wage, secure hours and an end to youth rates, walked down and joined the Starbucks picket.

220 Queen St Starbucks delegate, Hayley Rawhiti, a shift supervisor who has been working at Starbucks for 6 ½ years, said that support from other workers and her regular customers who chose to buy coffee elsewhere for

the day, was encouraging.

“New Zealand workers have accepted low pay for so long that they don’t think they deserve better. Most of the workers in my store can’t afford to buy Starbucks overpriced coffee on their current wages,” she said.

“Starbucks and Restaurant Brands should set an example for the rest of New Zealand by giving us a fair $12 starting rate and secure hours to show Kiwi employers how it’s done.”

While Starbucks does not have youth rates, Ms Rawhiti said Restaurant Brands discriminated against young workers at its other brands, KFC and Pizza Hut, which was inconsistent with the company’s pride in embracing diversity.

“We absolutely believe in what we are asking for, which more than anything is our incentive to fight for what’s right,” said Ms Rawhiti.

Claire Tennent, another shift supervisor and delegate at the Queen St store, said workers were surprised by Restaurant Brands CEO Vicky Salmon’s comments in today’s Dominion Post.

Ms Salmon told the Dominion Post that she believed there was an ‘unruly bunch’ within the union who were being disruptive and that “[t]hey are enthusiastic and passionate, but not always practical about what the outcome might be.” [1]

Ms Tennent said that the CEO’s comments to the press show how out of touch she is with workers and the feelings amongst them.

“There is no ‘unruly bunch’ in our union we made the decision to strike by ourselves and our entire store went out. I’m not a radical or militant - I just can’t afford to pay my bills on these wages,” she said.

“Vicky Salmons is right about one thing: we are enthusiastic and passionate. If she started on $10 an hour the ‘practical outcome’ of being on low wages would probably mean that she would be joining us in the next month of strike activity.”

Unite union central city organiser, Joseph Carolan, said workers felt their concerns about low pay, security of hours and unjust youth rates were not being treated seriously by management at McDonalds, Starbucks and other fast food companies.

“Fast food workers recognise that their work conditions and poor pay are the result of the entire industry’s race to the bottom. Workers from different stores have to work together to win their demands,” he concluded.

Unite has been advised that a Wellington area manager has been flown up to investigate the strikes.


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