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Gateway hotel workers strike
Friday night, 27 April, right on dinner time, staff at Auckland’s Gateway Airport hotel walked out of the kitchen and restaurant. It was the first strike there in twenty years.
Gateway hotel staff had not seen a union official for 15 years when they contacted the newly established union Unite in 2006. Most of the staff had years of experience but were on minimum pay and struggling to make ends meet. Some people were working two jobs, missing out on time with their families and friends.
Unite began talks for a collective agreement in August last year, however midway through the negotiations the hotel was sold. The new owners refused to even talk with the union representatives. Using every stalling tactic in the book, and in breach of employment laws, Gateway’s owners made it clear that they were completely opposed to a union presence at the hotel.
Some staff were sacked, including a pregnant woman – and Unite is taking a case of discrimination against the owners.
The Friday night strike action took the owners by surprise and they have now agreed to negotiate with the union.
If they fail to keep their word the staff have made it clear that they won’t think twice about walking off the job again.