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Unite Union offers support to protesting Freyberg students

Unite Union has offered professional advice and assistance to any Freyberg student facing disciplinary action over the recent protest at the school.

“A school strike and protest in 2006 over youth rates drew very similar criticism at the time. In reality that protest was crucial in both bringing youth rates to an end and establishing Unite’s first McDonalds collective union agreement ” said Assistant National Secretary Gerard Hehir (who is based in the Manawatū and has had three children attend Freyberg High School).

“Students should be encouraged to speak truth to power. In 2006 it was youth rates and union rights for young workers, in March 2024 it’s about prioritising school lunches over tax cuts for landlords and trying to re-write Te Tiriti o Waitangi. These are important issues and, as is often the case, it is young people leading the fight.”

Unite already represents students who work at local fast food restaurants but is offering to assist any student who may be disadvantaged over participating in the protest.

“A big part of our work is defending young workers’ rights at work, including those facing disciplinary processes. When young people stand up for what they believe and what is right they should be supported and encouraged – not punished”

Any student or their whānau needing support or advice can contact Unite Union on Free Phone 0800 286 483 (0800 2 UNITE) or email support@unite.org.nz


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