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Issue #1916      May 25, 2020



May 1 Movement rallies against proposed changes to fast food Award!

Sydney, New South Wales – [Two weeks ago] Unions involved in the May 1 Movement group rallied in an unprecedented action with fast food workers, targeting the McDonalds Australia corporate office in Thornleigh, Sydney. Participants are angered by proposed changes to the Fast Food Industry Award designed to attack award-reliant fast food workers.

A May 15 protest against attempts to change the fast food industry award. (Photo: Jageth Bandara)

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Retail and Fast Food Workers’ Union (RAFFWU) are among unions calling for the ACTU and shop assistants’ union (SDA) to drop their support for the proposed changes.

May 1 Movement spokesperson Paul McAleer said, “The May 1 Movement is calling on all unions to join in their demand that the ACTU and SDA revoke their shameful support for the proposed changes.

“These changes attack the conditions of young, low-paid and vulnerable fast food workers. Many of the workers targeted by these changes make as little at $8 or $9 an hour.

The employer group, the “AiGroup and the SDA are using COVID-19 as an excuse to push through the same attacks on part-time fast food workers that RAFFWU fought and defeated in the Fair Work Commission in February 2019.

“The proposed changes effectively casualise part-time work. If passed, tens of thousands of award-reliant fast food workers could lose their set shifts and instead be rostered at the whim of management on a weekly basis.”

“The May 1 Movement will fight against all attempts by big business to smash workers rights and conditions. We demand jobs with justice, we demand that no worker be left behind, and we demand that trade union leadership across the movement opposes these attacks and not be complicit in them.”

Loukas Kakogiannis, RAFFWU Sydney Organiser also noted that, “these changes seek to completely rewrite the definition of part time work. Part-time work means fixed rosters with set days and times.

“These changes were supposed to be pushed through in secret, without a single fast food worker being consulted. If it weren’t for RAFFWU’s opposition, these changes would have been made effective last Tuesday.

“The SDA and the ACTU should be ashamed of lining up on the side of Christian Porter and McDonalds to attack fast food workers. RAFFWU demands they immediately withdraw their support for the AiGroup submission,” Kakogiannis said.

“These changes have nothing to do with COVID-19 and everything to do with giving multinational behemoths like McDonalds flexibility to exploit their workers.

“RAFFWU members are rallying today because we aren’t going to sit back and allow some of the most exploited, young, vulnerable, and low-paid workers to be sold out without a fight.”

Robert Car, May 1 Movement Organiser added that, “the May 1 Movement came out in force to support RAFFWU in a convoy today to highlight that no worker needs to be left behind on account of McDonalds despicable attacks on workers.

“We encourage the SDA and ACTU to remove all support for an application that will set a bosses precedent to attack the wages and conditions of all workers through altering industry awards.

“If the award alteration for Fast Food Workers is successful, a precedent will be set to degrade the pay and conditions of retail workers, nurses, public servants, firies, transport workers, the list is endless.

“May 1 Movement organised a significant attendance for this action. We want unions across the board to support young workers by maintaining their working conditions rather than be complicit in undermining them.”

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