Around 30 trade union activists have today blocked entry to the Auckland branch of McDonalds. They are protesting against the dismissal of union delegate, Sean Bailey who had been sacked after exposing proof that McDonald’s had been underpaying workers millions of dollars and not giving them adequate breaks. His dismissal came shortly after being threatened by his manager who told him he would be disciplined if he didn’t act ‘less gay’.
Workers often say that the fear of firings is one of the main reasons it’s so hard to get people to fight back. The power that bosses hold over workers through firings can put them on the curb for standing up. This fear is often unspoken, but present everyday in our workplaces. This piece we share explores how truly arbitrary that power is and its effects. When bosses can hurt us and sometimes ruin lives without any reason at all, it also reminds us why we need to organize.
Until this year, late summer newspapers were always filled with articles about burglaries. “Family returns from holiday and finds home emptied by thieves” was a typical headline. This year, though, it has been factories emptied, and those sneaking in during the night to take away machinery have been the managers themselves.