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Second Store to Strike Against Youth Rates

Second Store to Strike Against Youth Rates

Youth rates workers from Manukau City KFC will go on strike against youth rates tonight at 6pm, in solidarity with KFC Lincoln Rd youth rates workers who are striking today at 3pm.

The workers will also be presenting their Store Manager with a group statement slamming illegal and exploitative practices at their workplace.

Michelle McClean, who is 15 and earns only $7.13 an hour, spent last night painting her first ever banner and practiced her anti-youth rates chants to R’n’B music.

“Our store hires mostly young people at night when it’s a busier and harder. Six out of the seven workers on tonight are under 18 and some of them are 15 like me. We do harder work than the day crew, but we get paid less. Youth rates might save the company money, but it makes us broke,” she said.

Michelle’s mother, Natasha McClean, said that she was particularly concerned about the late hours that her daughters Michelle and Crystal, 17, worked at the Manukau KFC store. “I often wait until well past midnight for my daughters to finish work. I’ve lost count of the number of times that they’ve only been paid until 10.30pm, despite working into the early morning,” she said.

“Paying kids low wages also affects their parents because most of them help pay their parents bills like my kids. We’ve worked out a system that whoever earns the most that week will put her pay towards the household bills and then they can split the other’s pay. If they were paid a fair rate it would help my budget,” said Mrs McClean.

Mrs McClean said that she was also concerned about legal protection for young workers in the workforce.

“My daughter was threatened with termination if she didn’t go to a ‘meeting’. When I asked if I could support my daughter as her legal guardian because she’s under 18, I was told that I didn’t work there and wasn’t allowed. The meeting then turned into a disciplinary meeting and she was given a warning,” she said.

SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign co-ordinator, Simon Oosterman, said that the experiences of the young workers in the Manukau store weren’t isolated cases.

“Young workers in particular are more vulnerable to illegal and exploitative practices in the workplace because they have less experience and very little bargaining power. Young worker’s deserve greater legal protection as well as a fair $12 an hour and guaranteed hours,” he concluded.

The workers statement to the management include: unfair disciplinary processes, disrepair of equipment like air conditioning and fridges, lack of security for staff and pressure to disregard hygiene standards. All workers who were at a store meeting last Sunday that decided to take strike action on Thursday were rostered off so that they couldn’t go on strike.

ENDS

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