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KFC Workers Strike Against Youth Rates

KFC Workers Strike Against Youth Rates

KFC workers in Balmoral went on strike Saturday in opposition to youth rates, which allow young workers to be paid less for doing the same work as their older counterparts.

More than 150 strikers and supporters turned up for the event, which was organised by the Unite workers union as part of the SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign, with representatives from the Green party, the Maori party, and workers from other KFC stores all aiding the effort.

The Post Primary Teachers Association, the union representing secondary school teachers, was also backing the strike.

Chris Bangs, regional secretary for the organisation, held a placard of support at the Balmoral site, and said it was important to get the message out to the community that young workers were not being treated fairly.

“The PPTA fully supports the young KFC workers going on strike. It is difficult enough for these young students to have to work hard at school, but such low pay at their jobs means they have to work longer hours to earn enough money, making study and living much more difficult.”

Fifth form student Sam Van Der Kolk, 15, is paid $7.13 an hour and is one of the striking workers from Balmoral KFC.

He said he regularly works past 10pm and has to walk an hour home late at night after his shifts.

“Because the pay is so low, I have to work long shifts. I have worked until 4am before, and then I have school the next day. One of the managers gets $20 a week to make sure staff get home after their shifts. If that person isn’t working, I have to walk,” he said.

This type of staff treatment by multinational fast-food companies such as KFC is one of the reasons the SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign was set up, said coordinator Simon Oosterman.

“The KFC Balmoral strike, also one of the first of its kind in the world, highlights the need to abolish unfair and discriminatory youth rates, and it also raises awareness of the disgraceful treatment of workers by these multinational corporations. They take advantage of their workers.”

“Responsibility lies with companies. Government policy doesn’t change until people change. Government policy follows what people are doing and demanding, and the Government will only raise the minimum wage when people demand it.”

The SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign kicked off last week with the world’s first Starbucks strike, and also aims to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and gain secure working hours for workers.


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