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More sauce! United Workers Win Big at McCormick.

A few weeks back we reported on UWU members striking at McCormick's Foods, who make the sauces you love for McDonalds, KFC, and Nando’s, among others. They hadn’t received a pay rise for over five years and were facing increasing casualisation to further erode their working conditions.

On Wednesday April 7, after almost six weeks on the grass outside the factory, news broke late in the afternoon that the workers had voted YES to a new offer.

The new deal nets these workers:

  • $5,000 "sign-on" bonus

  • 9% pay rise across 3 years

  • Retention of ALL previous conditions the company wanted to remove, including the four-day-week roster.

UWU Members striking at McCormick's Foods

UWU Members striking at McCormick's Foods

Scott, one of the workers who has been on the grass for these gruelling few weeks, says it was a very difficult time for him and his family.

"We're a single income family," he told Megaphone Journal. "And on top of that we're having to pay for some medications and therapy for our little boy. The debts start to rack up when you've got no money coming in, which is why the sign-on bonus was especially welcome."

This is a huge win against a company that seemed, in the beginning, to be totally uninterested in even sitting down and negotiating. Scott says the silence from the company was one of the hardest parts. They would go weeks at a time without hearing a peep from management. The uncertainty was overwhelming at times. 

The debts start to rack up when you've got no money coming in, which is why the sign-on bonus was especially welcome.

However, with massive support from the community, and some timely appearances by MPs and dignitaries, these workers were able to stay strong during a very difficult time and let management know they weren’t going to back down.

Unity is strength and even huge companies can't deny that.

Wage suppression remains a widespread problem in the Australian economy, entrenching inequality and fuelling many other social problems. Just this week the Fair Work Commission is considering capping the increase of the minimum wage at 1.75%, far below what it would need to be in order to keep pace with the cost of living. Some commentators are continuing to blame the pandemic and the high rate of unemployment for the lack of wage increases, while the Liberal party are continuing to peddle the lie that productivity gains will lift wages. We know this to be patently untrue: only collective power wins wage increases. Only workers sticking together, like these awesome UWU members at McCormick, can win the living wages conservatives want to deny them.

Workers striking at McCormick's Foods

Workers striking at McCormick's Foods

Scott says that he hopes others will stand up and fight for their rights at work. "It's hard, and you might not get everything you want, but unity is strength and even huge companies can't deny that."

And all of this goes to show once and for all that the secret sauce really is solidarity.

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