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New Zealand Starbucks Workers on Strike!

(As reported by Labourstart)- FIRST STARBUCKS STRIKE IN THE WORLD

It was bound to happen eventually -- and it happened today in New Zealand.  Low-paid Starbucks workers walked off the job and formed a picket line.  They were joined by workers from other low paid, fast-food restaurants such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

Starbucks, which tries to project an image as a caring, progressive, company, has some 80,000 employees worldwide.  It pays those workers minimum wage or only slightly above, and generally does not welcome unions.

As you'd expect, LabourStart is covering the New Zealand Starbucks strike (see here: http://www.labourstart.tv).

If you've never seen a picket line at a Starbucks (and chances are, you haven't), have a look!

For more information about union efforts to organize Starbucks worldwide, check out http://www.supersizemypay.com/ and http://www.starbucksunion.org/

Worlds First Starbucks Strike Spreads to 10 Stores

Workers from stores across Auckland walked off the job today to join the world’s first Starbucks strike, held on Auckland’s counter-culture café strip, Karangahape Rd, New Zealand.

What began as a small protest by workers from one store became a city-wide strike when Starbucks workers heard that managers would be brought in to cover the shifts of the striking K’Rd workers.

“What began as an event to highlight the poor conditions of low pay and minimum wage workers turned into a show of solidarity and strength between Auckland’s Starbucks workers,” said Simon Oosterman, SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign coordinator.

“More than 30 workers spontaneously walked out from 10 different Auckland Starbucks stores to join KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonalds employees, and around 150 other supporters outside the K’Rd store,” he said.

“Starbucks workers continued their solidarity despite being threatened with being sacked for abandonment of shift if they did not return after one hour,” said Mr Oosterman.

“The only people being abandoned are Starbucks workers.”

Daniel Gross, co-founder of the Starbucks workers union in New York, said the strike was an important step towards changing working conditions for those in the fast-food sector all over the world.

“The Kiwi Starbucks workers are making a stand for baristas around the world. We get paid what amounts to a poverty wage and there are no guaranteed hours. Starbucks have record turnovers every year, but none of that money makes it into the workers pockets,” said Mr Gross.

“This is a signal that minimum wage workers from around the world are fed up with living on the poverty line,” he concluded.

Mr Oosterman said that multinational companies are taking advantage of people in vulnerable situations.

“Our campaign isn’t just about fair pay at work, it’s about social justice. Poverty-wages are increasing the gap between rich and poor and increasing other social inequalities. The majority of low paid and minimum wage workers are women, Maori, pacific islanders, disabled, youth, students and new migrants,” he said.

The Starbucks strike was a first step in a campaign to raise public awareness of these issues, and will be taken to the Grey Lynn festival and the Santa Parade this weekend.

ENDS

Simon Oosterman can be contacted for interview on 0274 555 789
http://www.SuperSizeMyPay.com

Starbucks Union: In Solidarity with Striking New Zealand Baristas

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is in full solidarity with the courageous Unite [New Zealand] baristas who are taking a stand against the world's largest coffee chain. Transnational Capital calls for transnational resistance including retail workers around the world and those who produce the products sold. The friendship between our respective unions bodes well for the international movement to organize the mammoth chain stores.

Worlds First Starbucks Strike, Auckland

Press Release: Unite Union / SupersizeMyPay.Com Tuesday, 23 November

A world first is happening in the heart of Auckland city today (Nov 23), as multi-national giant Starbucks faces a workers strike.

At 2pm the Starbucks on the corner of K' Road and Mercury lane will experience industrial ructions. The legal wild-cat strike is a public awareness raising event and the first action in the Unite workers union SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign.

Campaign coordinator Simon Oosterman says the strike is just one way Unite is raising public awareness of the working conditions of those employed in the fast-food sector and other low paid and minimum wage jobs.

“The minimum wage is now the most important determining factor for low paid workers. Raising the minimum wage to $12 now, removing youth rates, giving secure hours and other minimum entitlements would be the first step towards reclaiming what entitlements workers have lost and alleviating poverty and inequality,” says Mr Oosterman.

The community-wide campaign is being launched around the fast-food industry to win a contract based on these demands as a first step to winning them for all low-paid New Zealanders.

“We are seeking customer and community support at events like the Grey Lynn Festival and the Santa Parade, before we will take widespread industrial action,” he says.

The strike will be held for about an hour, and customers and pedestrians will be offered free fair trade coffee at the event.

Internationally Starbucks has low union representation, with only 300 union members out of 80,000 workers globally.

One third of these union members are in New Zealand.

“Starbucks workers start on $10 an hour, only fifty cents above the minimum wage. Workers hours are not guaranteed and can, and have been, cut from 40 to 20 hours. In Australia, Starbucks workers earn almost $5 more per hour than their New Zealand workmates. We are only asking for $2 more per hour,” he concluded.

Unite has been in negotiations for several months with Restaurant Brands, which owns Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hut in New Zealand.

Unite has 2000 members in the fast-food industry.