Workers: 1 – Georgie Pie: 0

24 Jun

By Gary Cranston, Unite West Auckland organiser

West Auckland McDonald’s strikes build momentum as picket lines swell and striking workers triple in number.

Workers walked off the job at three McDonald’s restaurants in West Auckland last night to picket their bosses most profitable restaurant. Numbers swelled as workers walked off the job and went store to store, gathering workers and momentum along the way to converge on the mouth of the Kelston McDonald’s drive through. The drive thrus at McDonald’s New Lynn and Kelston were hit with pickets, costing the company thousands of dollars in sales as customers turned away in support of the workers.

McDonald’s workers of New Lynn, Lynn Mall and West City McDonald’s, unhappy about being paid less than other fast food and fed up with their treatment at work, were joined by ex-employees and supporters at the picket line at Kelston McDonald’s. Unite Union has been surveying workers at all five restaurants owned by West Auckland franchisee Dinesh Mani and has found workers are not getting breaks, missing pay and being bullied and harassed by management on a regular basis.

Striking workers approached customers at their car windows, spoke with them about the campaign for equal pay and working conditions, asking them if they “wouldn’t mind eating somewhere else. “F**k McDonald’s” and “go hard, I hope you win”, were common responses as the vast majority of West Auckland customers turned their cars away, honking their horns in support.

Picket outside Kelston McDonald’s

“Kelston McDonald’s is the only McDonald’s restaurant out West selling Georgie Pies and with all the advertising hype surrounding the return of Georgie Pie, we weren’t sure how customers would react to being asked to eat somewhere else”, said a worker of New Lynn McDonald’s. “We knew most of them were headed there to buy Georgie Pies. The drive through was jammers on arrival.” Not for long.

“No doubt, Westies love their pies, but their appetite for down to earth fairness was loud and clear as they turned away in droves, hitting McDonald’s where it hurts most. The pocket.”, said Gary Cranston, Unite Union organiser. “While some workers are still afraid to come out on strike out of fear of retaliation by management, we are gathering momentum here in West Auckland and the pickets are growing in number and strength.”

Empty drive-thru at Kelston McDonald’s

“The reaction from the customers says it all. Pretty much everyone agrees that the workers should be treated and paid better.” “It’s just going to get bigger, stronger and deeper as the campaign gathers momentum and more customers and workers turn their backs on the company.”

“We will continue to inform the public about how workers are being treated until the company agrees to give the workers more secure hours, better pay, free meals on shift like other fast food workers, worker benefits and a workplace free from bullying and discrimination. It’s as simple as that.”, said

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