First round of McD’s fight – two knockdowns to Unite – struggle continues

18 May

The unite union fight over their contract with McDonald’s has resulted in two knockdowns for the company in the first two weeks. But the struggle continues.

McD’s delegates training day in March

The fight began May 1 with a picket of the company’s flagship Queen Street store in Auckland that was subject to heavy-handed police presence. This aggressive policing continued outside the Quay St and Queen Street stores on May 10. The union felt obliged to make a formal complaint to the Auckland police commander and will be meeting him on Monday to discuss the police tactics.

One of the issues raised in the on the first pickets was the anti-gay culture demonstrated in the bullying and abuse suffered by Unite union delegate Sean Bailey. This became an international news story and was then picked up by New Zealand media.

The union then raised the question of whether the free meals or 50% discounts routinely provided to police was a factor in their seeming bias towards the company on the pickets. The issue then became a media sensation this week with three stories (one, two) on succeeding days on TV3 that ended with the commissioner of police (three) ordering all staff to refuse discounts in the future or face disciplinary action. The TV3 reports featured footage of the police pushing picketers around in Auckland. The news of the end of the discounts in New Zealand has also gone international.

From any point of view both stories were a PR disaster for McDonald’s.

There were also actions in Dunedin,


Tauranga, and South Auckland. There was always huge public support shown with toots of support and customers turning away.


Unite member on Clendon store picket

There will be continuing actions over the next weeks and months. This is a big company with lots of resources. We need to be ready for a long campaign. Given the low wages and insecure hours we can’t expect the workers to do win their demands through economic action alone.

We will need public support. We want unions and other community groups to consider “adopting” a McDonald’s to picket in support of the workers demands. We have already had support (including on the picket line) from the Auckland University Student’s Association and the Maritime Union of NZ.

Each strike and picket will highlight an aspect of the workers demands. We will have more stories to tell about stolen wages and breaks, insecure hours, favoritism and bullying, exploitation of migrant workers.

Below are links to the media reports, Unite Blog stories and Youtube uploads by supporters. We want to create a complete record of this campaign. Please send us any reports in local newspapers.

Keep up with the campaign by subscribing to the Unitenews Blog or our Facebook group. We already have just under 2000 subscribers and are getting thousands of hits each week.

Be part of a movement to support workers up against one of the world’s most powerful multinationals. Their courage demands your support.


April 2: Ronald wants to re-introduce youth wages

Ronald vs the Union

April 30: McDonald’s staff set to strike

April 30: Maccas staff set to strike

April 30: Joe Carolan on BFM

May 1: Unhappy NZ McDonald’s employees plan to strike

May 1: Mike Treen Speaks At Picket Against Mc Donalds

May 1: McDonalds Picket – Unite Union

May 1: Auckland Photos:

May 1: Youth rates will take work from other young workers

May 1: Sid Vyas, Unite union Speaks Out

May 1: McDonalds strike protest today.

May 1: Joe Carolan’s Post Picket Speech – Picket Against McDonald’s

May 1: Interviews With Some Protestors On The McD’s Picket Line

May 1: Britomart McDonalds Occupied on Mayday

May 1: Jase & Dave’s Song For Mcdonald’s Employees

May 5: Matt McCarten: Salt in wounds on workers’ day

May 7: Video: Police protect McDonald’s on May Day in New Zealand

May 8: Sid Viyas – “Working like a slave” at McDonald’s

May 8: Students stand by workers at McDonald’s

May 9: Picket at McDonald’s Linwood

May 9: McStrike Linwood photos

May 9: McDonald’s Linwood

May 10: McDonald’s, Unite at odds over assault claims at Linwood

May 10: Protesters stake out Auckland McDonald’s

May 10: McStrike protest report and photos

May 10: McDonalds McStrike – Brittomart – Closing speeches – Auckland

May 10:Mike Treen challenges police at McStrike Auckland (plus delegate interviews & speeches)

May 11: Union protesters assaulted by McDonald’s security staff

May 11: McStrike Dunedin

May 12: McStrike at McDonald’s North Dunedin

May 13: Two rammed at Dunedin protest

May 13: Dunedin – Picketers run over at ‘McStrike’ – organiser

May 14: Dunedin: Protester had two options: go over or under car

May 14: Tauranga – Protestors outside McDonald’s

May 14:Tauranga – Protest outside McDonalds

MAY 16: “Solidarity”, the cry of The Clendon McStrike


May 1: McDonald’s worker told by boss to ‘act less gay’

May 1: McDonald’s worker told ‘don’t act gay’ VIDEO:

May 2: New Zealand: McDonald’s worker told ‘If you turn anyone else in the store gay, I will punish you’

May 3: Gay McDonald’s worker receives international support

May 5: McStrike: Interview with Unite delegate Sean Bailey

May 10: Same-sex ‘kiss-in’ shows support for gay McDonald’s worker

May 10: Turn McDonalds Gay Day, tonight 8pm at Britomart

May 12: McDonalds vs Unite: Queer power, workers’ power

BFM Radio interview with SeanBailey


May 1: Cops used as McDonald’s private security guards says Unite Union

May 10: McD’s Picketers assaulted

May 10: Cops breaking McStrike picket

May 10: Mike Treen challenges police at McStrike Auckland (plus other video footage)

May 13: Letter from Unite to Auckland Police

May 14: Cop freebies at Maccas should end

May 14: Union complains about police conduct

May 14: Concern over police freebies longstanding

May 15: TV3 – Police accused of protecting food perk

May 16: Workers Strike Over Lack Of Free Meals On Shift

May 16: McDonald’s workers protest police discount

May 16: Police seek apology over fast food favours claim

May 16: Some questions for the NZ Police – letter from Mike Treen to the Commissioner of Police

May 16: TV 3 – Police regularly accepting discounts

May 17: TV3 – Police may be disciplined for discounted food

May 17: Unite to McDonald’s: It’s time to withdraw unlawful discounts to Police

May 18: Commissioner puts ends to ‘McCops’ discount

May 18: NZ ends long-standing McCop’s discount


One Response to “First round of McD’s fight – two knockdowns to Unite – struggle continues”


  1. GPJA #463 (Part 2 of 3): News from Aotearoa – 22/5/13 | GPJA's Blog - May 22, 2013

    […] First round of McD’s fight – two knockdowns to Unite – struggle continues… […]

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