The first McDonald's strike ever in Wellington took place on May 22. At 8am, five of the seven workers on shift came off the job and joined the picket line that had been set up outside Bunny St McDonald's. It was a noisy, lively affair, with Fightback member and Wellington Unite union organiser Heleyni Pratley leading the way with chants, songs and the occasional speech to the people passing by. Pratley explained why the strike was being held and why the public needed to respect the picket line.
After a relatively quiet couple of years, the Unite union, which organises fast food and other previously unorganised sectors, has burst into action with a vigorous industrial campaign against McDonald's.
As the packed galleries burst into an impassioned version of “Pokarekare Ana” (a well-known traditional Maori love song) in response to the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill by 77-44 votes on April 17, a crowd of more than 1000 celebrated outside parliament in Wellington. The vote made New Zealand the 13th nation to legalise same-sex marriage. France has since become the 14th.
Socialist Alternative has sparked a debate about whether socialists should be involved in feminist campaigns in an article published on its website on November 22 "Jill Meagher, Reclaim the Night and the political right".
In what has been described as New Zealand's most high-profile and bitter industrial dispute since the early 1990s, waterside workers went back to work, after a four-week strike. Auckland's port company agreed to end its lockout of 235 workers on March 30, and pay workers a week's wages for being illegally locked out. The New Zealand Herald reported that Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe told a huge workers' meeting: “You'll all go back to your jobs and until you go back you'll all get paid. “Everything we have done has fallen into place, thanks to your solidarity.”
A number of high-profile industrial struggles are unfolding in New Zealand. About 1500 aged care workers, members of the Service and Food Workers Union, are taking part in rolling strikes against a 1% pay rise offer. About 750 meat workers have been locked out by their employer AFFCO and about 1250 workers are involved in rolling stoppages in solidarity. Striking Auckland waterside workers are also into their fourth week on the picket line. What links all these struggles are pay and conditions ― especially the fight against casualisation.