McDonald's newest NZ restaurant built on unpaid labour, illegal work trials.

mcd te atatu 1One worker has been backpaid and several others are waiting to be paid for working illegal, unpaid pre-employment work trials and other unpaid work at McDonald's New Zealand's newest restaurant. Workers had to attend compulsory unpaid meetings and work for free cleaning the restaurant in preparation for opening day.

Heidi Louise Batt worked two unpaid 4 hour shifts without being told that she wouldn't be paid prior. She wasn't told that she was rejected for the job until she asked to be paid. It was the first job she had applied for in her life.

Initially claiming that a manager had made a mistake, McDonald's Franchisee Dinesh Mani paid Ms Batt at the request of Unite union, later admitting to running illegal work trials as part of the franchises normal hiring processes.


Mr Mani, who's family helped him buy his first McDonald's restaurant already owned four McDonald's restaurants before opening the controversial Te Atatu restaurant. Over 1400 people signed a petition in support of Te Atatu Peninsula residents campaigning against a 24 hour drive through McDonald's restaurant being built in their neighbourhood.

"Mr Mani has made tremendous amounts of profits from West Aucklanders hard work. McDonald's NZ made $52.8 million in profit in 2016. He should pay all workers for all of the the unpaid work they were required to do, no questions asked." said Gary Cranston, Unite Union Fast Food Organiser for West Auckland and Northland.


mcdteataturest.pngUpdate: 29 June 2017

Unite Union has since received assurance from McDonald's head office that Mr Mani has been spoken to and union members will be paid for all unpaid work they undertook at the Te Atatu McDonald's restaurant. 

Gary Cranston

Fast Food Organiser West Auckland & Northland
029 4555 979

Unite complains to Press Council


By Unite National Secretary Gerard Hehir

This online article was published without any attempt (that we are aware of) to contact Unite Union to verify the claims made. The headline, in particular, is simply wrong. There was no "union money" behind the scheme. 

The only union organisation spoken to, the CTU, told the reporter that they had not agreed to fund or manage the scheme  and had never seen the document. Despite knowing that the document was obviously not an agreement or statement of facts,  the headline asserts that there was "Union money behind Labour's botched intern scheme".
The article says: "The documents show First and Unite unions agreed to contribute $100,000".
No attempt was made to verify this despite the reporter knowing that other statements in the document were not factual, especially regarding CTU and union involvement. 
The document actually states that contributions from Unite and First were "under discussion" but no mention of that is made in the article. 
To publish the headline and assertion that Unite Union had agreed to fund the scheme when the reporter had clear evidence that this was unlikely to be true and required a basic level of fact checking before publication is bad journalism.
Other news organisations did contact us before publishing - they simply made a phone call to check.

Labour Letter June 2017

The New Zealand Labour Letter is provided as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd

National Labour News

The Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) praised the decision by Ports of Auckland to stop releasing methyl bromide emissions into the air. MUNZ National Secretary Joe Fleetwood said the decision is an example of what publicly owned ports can deliver, "if and when they prioritise community interests." The union said the move to fully recapture the toxic gas after fumigation "sets a new benchmark for industry best practice." According to MUNZ, methyl bromide is linked to motor neurone disease and harmful to the ozone layer and used to kill insects in logs before export. "We will continue the campaign to stop rogue employers exposing people to methyl bromide for another decade if need be," said Fleetwood. "Eliminating the risk from our ports and communities will save lives." The union also warned that the rivalry between publicly-owned ports undermines best practice standards, and drives a race to the bottom in the industry. "The Government must not allow best practice in some ports to be undermined elsewhere," said Fleetwood.


MUNZ National Secretary Joe Fleetwood

Read more

Danger! The economic bubble is bursting

By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

Statistics NZ figures released this week have confirmed that New Zealand is in recession on a per capita basis as the economy has declined for two-quarters when measured on this basis.
Gross Domestic Product did grow by .4% in the December quarter 2016 and 0.5% in the March quarter 2017, but because New Zealand’s total population grew by a record 2.1% in the year to March.
Adjusting the GDP growth for population growth produces a negative growth number in both quarters.
Read more

A victory for left in extaordinary UK election

The UK election was extraordinary for a number of reasons.

The Conservative Prime Minister called it early because opinion polls gave her at least a 20 percentage point lead over Labour. A huge victory awaited. Just as importantly a crushing defeat of Labour was possible. The hated Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would be crushed and tossed aside.

The Conservatives won 318 seats and lost 13 seats. Labour won 262 seats and gained 32. In theory, 326 seats are needed for a majority in the 650-seat parliament. Actually, it is nearer 323 as Sinn Fein in the North of Ireland won seven seats which they don’t occupy because of their republican views.  

The Labour vote in the UK election reached 40%. Their MP number increased the Conservative Party just made it back in office with 42% of the vote and the support of a Democratic Unionist Party – a deeply reactionary party based in Northern Ireland with terrorist links that hold 10 seats.



Read more

Invite to "Victory Party" for Corbyn-led Labour in UK election, 2pm Friday

The crew at Unite Union are organising a victory party for the UK election from 2pm Friday (or earlier) when official results will start coming in. Come along and join us at Unite Union HQ, 6a Western Springs Rd, Morningside, Auckland.
Myself, Joe Carolan and two Unite Union McDonald's delegates from Unite NZ met many MP's sponsored by Unite the Union and the Bakers Union in the UK parliament when we visited last year. They were very keen to hear about our victory over zero-hour contracts and how we organise - including the right of access. Both issues are part of the Labour Party manifesto.
The future Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell and myself spoke at a seminar on organising the unorganised in the UK which can be viewed here.
Read more

Corbyn-led Labour election victory possible - UK establishment panics

An electoral earthquake is coming in the UK. If you are around next Friday night we are having a few drinks to celebrate at the Unite Union office in Auckland. Come along from 2pm and we will broadcast the results on a big screen.

The Jeremy Corbyn lead Labour Party has gone from 28% to 38% in the polls in a few weeks. They are now just three points behind in one of the most recent. This happened as soon as certain electoral rules kicked in for the media to start treating each party in a fairer way.



Read more

McDonalds 2017 Ratification Vote

McDonald's and Unite Union Collective Agreement Ratification Vote.

The Unite Union bargaining group of ten workplace delegates along with two union officials recommended the offer negotiated. It was accepted by 98% of members who voted.


Read more

New Zealand Labour Letter - May, 2017

Below we reprint the latest edition of the New Zealand Labour Letter. The online publication of the New Zealand Labour Letter is provided as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd.  People can register for their no-cost subscription to the New Zealand Labour Letter at

National Labour News

Unions praised the government's equal pay settlement for 55,000 aged-care workers, which will cost $2 billion over the next five years. E tū assistant national secretary John Ryall said the settlement, once ratified, would mean a "once in a lifetime pay rise which will end poverty wages" for a mainly female workforce. The New Zealand Nurses Organisation, the Public Service Association and the Council of Trade Unions have also backed the settlement. Existing staff will now be paid between $19 and $23.50 an hour from July 1. By July 2021, the entry-level rate will be $21.50 an hour, with a top rate of $27. Workers now earn an average of just over $16 an hour, with many on the minimum wage of $15.75, the unions said. The workers provide government-funded aged residential care, home support and disability services for around 110,000 people.


Wellington aged care worker Kristine Bartlett brought a court case that snowballed into pay equity reform.


Read more

What causes crime?

By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

I disagree with many people on the left who blame crime on poverty.

I believe it is a product of the breakdown in human solidarity. Sometimes that is associated with periods of social crisis, unemployment and poverty – but not always. And it is not a simple matter of cause and effect.


Read more