New Zealand: Activists target Burger Fuel over anti-worker policies

The call for action against New Zealand-owned Burger Fuel chain for anti-worker practices below is reprinted from Unityaotearoa.blogspot.com. Campaigners have called for international action targetting Burger Fuel, which has two Sydney stores in Newtown and Kings Cross. Campaigners have called for coordinated pickets of Burger Fuel stores on Saturday, September 4. For information on the campaign, you can contact New Zealand National Distribution Union organiser Simon Oosterman at simon.oosterman@ndu.org.nz.

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Joanne Bartlett was fired on day 89 of her 90-day trial period at Mission Bay Burger Fuel in Auckland. She was fired just after asking for more than one 10 minute break during her eight-hour shift.

Bartlett received high grades in the company’s training program, has culinary school qualifications and often worked extra shifts when asked. No reason was given for her dismissal.

Activists picketed her store on August 19. During the picket, the company’s chief executive Josef Roberts told TV3 that Burger Fuel franchises would use the 90 day trial again in the future.

When the cameras stopped rolling, Roberts pleaded with the picketers to stop as the store had lost its entire lunch trade — which would affect its tight margins.

Roberts told the Unite union that he would make an agreement with it if it stopped taking action. Burger Fuel has since reneged on its agreement.

It’s time to send Burger Fuel a clear message. We need to picket as many stores as we can on the same day at the same time and drive the message home.

It is important for the workers’ movement that we get a win at Burger Fuel. Not only do we need to send a strong message to other employers that we won’t stop until we win, we need to show activists that there is action that they can be involved in that works and is fun.

That’s why we are organising another round of protests on Saturday, September 4 from noon-2pm during Burger Fuel’s busiest lunch break. The first action in Auckland successfully hurt Burger Fuel and Wellington activists had a similar success with a picket the following day.

It will work again, but this time it will hurt more. Already Australian unionists have agreed to picket the two Sydney Burger Fuels.

We are now developing flyers and other materials for the picket and we can get them to interested activists before the action.