15 years ago fast food workers did not have a union they could join. 

Workers faced a situation with low pay, no guaranteed hours and often bullying by managers without and way of fighting back.

Since then we have joined up thousands of workers and negotiated collective agreements that have made real improvements in most major fast food companies.
In the early 2000s the legal minimum wage was much less for young people up to 20 years of age. The adult minimum was worth around 40% of the average wage and the youth minimum only 26% of the average. Today the start rate in the industry is equal to 58% of the average wage and applies to everyone from 16 years of age. 

In early 2015, we launched our successful End Zero Hours campaign, to put an end to zero hours contracts in the fast food industry. The political pressure from the campaign we spearheaded forced an otherwise hostile National government to eliminate zero hours contracts in law.

There is still work to do to make sure the guaranteed minimum hours workers need are actually being improved over time to what workers actually need every week.
Fast food workers also deserve a living wage which will require a boost to start rates to around 66% of the average wage.

Some managers are also trying to undermine what has been achieved. Bullying and favouritism remain problems. 

All the companies were found to be cheating on annual leave. But Unite has held them to account and they will all be forced to pay what they owe.

Some companies like Burger King and Wendy's have been convicted of illegal behaviour on the employment relations authority cases the union has brought.

Unite is there to help workers stand up for themselves - individually and collectively. 

Lead Organiser


Gerard Hehir

Assistant National Secretary

Gerard is Unite's Assistant National Secretary and is based in Manawatu