How UNITE Took on the Fast Food Companies Over Zero Hour Contracts and Won

Published on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin No. 1120, by Mike Treen, May 22, 2015.

Workers in the fast food industry in New Zealand scored a spectacular victory over what has been dubbed “zero hour contracts” during a collective agreement bargaining round over the course of March and April this year. The campaign played out over the national media as well as on picket lines. The victory was seen by many observers as the product of a determined fight by a valiant group of workers and their union, Unite. It was a morale boost for all working people after what has seemed like a period of retreat for working-class struggle in recent years.  

Workers in the fast food industry have long identified “zero hour contracts” as the central problem they face. These are contracts that don’t guarantee any hours per week, meanwhile workers are expected to work any shifts rostered within the workers’ ‘availability’. Managers have power to use and abuse the rostering system to reward and punish, without any real means of holding them to account.

This year, all the collective agreements with the major fast food companies (McDonald’s, Burger King, Restaurant Brands) expired on March 31. We were already in dispute with Wendy’s, as their agreement remains unresolved from last year. Unite Union was determined to end the system of zero hours and get guaranteed hours included in the new collective agreements. We had no illusions that this was going to be easy. We knew this would be a tough battle and we needed to prepare for that reality if we were to have a chance of success. At organizing meetings I would sometimes use a phrase that appealed: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” I was told later it is taken from a Latin adage: “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” Whoever coined the phrase, it is a wise strategy.

Not a New Phenomenon: … //

… End Zero Hour Contracts Campaign: … //
… Preparing a Campaign : … //
… Bargaining: … //
… Mc Donnald’s Counter-Attack: … //
… May Day Action Called: … //
… Government Under Pressure: … //

… (full long text).

(Mike Treen is a Unite National Director. This article first appeared on the website … and also on The Daily Blog).


Snowden talks NSA surveillance reform, reveals Papa John’s exists in Russia, on Russia Today RT, May 22, 2015;

New Lives in Uruguay: Freedom Elusive after 12 Years at Guantanamo, on Spiegel Online International, by Marian Blasberg in Montevideo, Uruguay, May 21, 2015 (Photo Gallery):  Six former Guantanamo prisoners have been sharing a house in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo for the last six months. The planned closure of the US detention facility could hinge on the outcome of this experiment;
(see also: PIT-CNT’s worker union: Plenario Intersindical de Trabajadores – Convención Nacional de Trabajadores: on en.wikipedia is a national trade union center in Uruguay; on es.wikipedia es la central sindical única de Uruguay);

The Catholic Church’s American downfall, why its demographic crisis is great news for the country, on SALON, by PATRICIA MILLER, May 21, 2015: There’s a huge political upside to the decline of Christianity across the country. The big news out of the new Pew poll on Americans and religion was the precipitous drop in the number of Americans calling themselves “Christian” and its potential impact on the Christian Right and future religion itself in the U.S. …;
(see also on Pew Research Center: Declining Number of Catholics, May 11, 2015; Unauthorized Immigrant Population Trends for States, Birth Countries and Regions, Dec 11, 2014);

Impôt sur le revenu, avantages et inconvénients du prélèvement à la source, dans BFMbusiness/France, le 21 mai 2015;

New York Times Among those Giving the Spotlight to Reformers Calling for Sharing the Common Wealth, on, by Jeffey J. Smith, May 20, 2015;

Les Français et le libéralisme, baromètre 2015, dans Contrepoints/Social, le 20 mai 2015;

Scandalous treatment of Rohingya and African boat migrants, on The Guardian/Refugees/Letters, May 20, 2015;
(see also: Rohingya people on en.wikipedia … are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group that live in northern Rakhine (Arakan), Burma …);

UK: Millions of workers coming up to retirement could boost their income by thousands using a simple trick allowed under new pension rules, on This is, by Toni Hazell, May 20, 2015;

Voici la défaite programmée de la finance mondiale, dans, par benevole (son site), le 19 mai 2015;

Report from London Futurists’ event, on BIEN, by Marlies Kunnen, May 19, 2015;

US: Everything is Auto-Awesome, on Star Tribune, by Jameslileks, May 19, 2015;

The imminent need for basic income in recognition of our machine-driven future, Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck, on Huffington Post, by Scott Santens, May 18, 2015:

World Economics Association WEA/Books;

Die Jahrhundertlüge, die nur Insider kennen – Heiko Schrang, 53.23 min, von Quer-Denken.TV am 21. Mai 2014 hochgeladen; Heiko Schrangs Buch auf, oder:, /Startseite; /Sitemap; /Kontakt (verkauft DVDs von Quer-DenkenTV und AlpenparlamentTV);
(siehe auch: Macht steuert Wissen MSW: /Startseite; /SchrangTVs YouTube Kanal; /Kontakt/Impressum).

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