Together for more
Unite is New Zealand’s newest union representing young service sector employees in the fast-food industry, call centres, hotels and the postal service. The Unite union’s barnstorming approach has organised thousands of them, led strikes at McDonald’s and Starbucks, won significant raises for fast-food workers, and helped spearhead a successful effort by New Zealand’s unions to boost the national minimum wage. Thousands of young workers have gained union representation for the first time with the union, many of them Maori and Pacific islanders. The union called on companies to “Supersize My Pay,” riffing on the food chains’ own sales pitches. The union purchased a bus, decorated it, attached loudspeakers, and travelled from one worksite to the next, making organising and bargaining campaigns very public. Crucial to the union’s success has been the appeal of its three key principles — a higher minimum wage, abolition of cheap labour “youth rates,” and guaranteed minimum hours of work.