Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Dunedin: It's Bitter with the King

On Saturday the 26th of August along George Street, Dunedin, a rather important protest took place. This protest was regarding the sub-standard way that Burger King is treating its hard-working staff, something that must be analysed seriously by the citizens of any democratic nation. This includes, but is not limited to: paying Burger King staff minimum wage for years and years, regardless of if they're a supervisor, or sometimes even manager (in one case about 15 years!), paying under minimum wage under the guise of "training modules", and trying to push their workers away from Trade Unions. Every worker has the right to join a union. 
Unite Union and ISO organised and performed this as Burger King staff did not want to protest personally for fear of retribution. The protest started organising itself around the Robbie Burns Statue, we jokingly placed a Unite Union flag in Robbie Burn's hand, and then we descended into George Street, finishing at the Meridian Shopping Mall, which has a Burger King on the bottom floor, making the chants and general protest very well heard by the staff, and hopefully management.  
The protest was generally considered to be quite well done, as we gained a lot of public attention, spread awareness, and hopefully gained support among Dunedin workers and shoppers. People from the street even started protesting alongside us! From the Robbie Burns' statue to the Meridian shopping mall, we marched and chanted "Burger King, get stuffed! Minimum wage is not enough!" "Grill your burgers, not your workers!" "When workers' rights are under attack! STAND UP! FIGHT BACK!" "When I say Union, you say power! Union! POWER! Union! POWER!" All of this was performed in the hope that Burger King staff knows that they deserve to be treated better, and so the bosses know they can't treat their workers like punching bags full of cash. 

Find out more about the campaign at Unite Union news

Jasper Auld

[Image credit: Unite Union flickr stream.