UNITE’s Brunswick Street campaign has won some real victories. UNITE organisers and volunteers visited stores along Brunswick Street on Saturday to let members and other workers know about the successes so far, and what they can do to win Award wages, penalty rates and safe conditions.
Workers on the street were impressed with the union work done by employees at San Churro, Hooked, Friends of Couture, Nique and 7-Eleven. Thanks to these workers’ efforts, weekend and evening penalty rates now seem within reach for others along the street. These examples prove that gains at work are won by joining UNITE, standing up to dodgy bosses and demanding your entitlements.
Word about the campaign is spreading. Bar workers across Melbourne, many of whom work grueling, anti-social hours without penalty rates, have heard about the campaign and have also begun to organise their workplaces and fight for higher wages.
Disappointingly, the vast majority of workers on Brunswick Street were not aware of recent changes to the minimum wage. In most cases their hourly rate of pay had not increased since July, and was still well below the old minimum wage.
That workers must fight for the legal minimum wage is a sorry indictment of hospitality bosses’ shady practices. But as the campaign has shown thus far, this modest goal is attainable by organising and sticking together.
If you work in retail or hospitality, fight back and join UNITE today!
Listen to a 3CR podcast on the Day of Action here.