South Auckland Hotel Workers Strike Against Poverty Wages

Around fifty workers and supporters picketed outside Auckland’s Centra Airport hotel on Monday evening while Justice Department officials inside were holding a conference on Pasifika issues. The hotel staff were striking in support of a 5% pay increase.

“The wages are so low people cannot not make ends meet” says Unite union organiser Daphna Whitmore. “The dire situation was tragically highlighted when Mr Muliuga’s wife died after their electricity was cut”, she said.

Lopa Muliaga works in the kitchen at the Centra and, like many hotel staff, earns just $12 an hour. He joined a picket outside the hotel on May 29. Lopa was not rostered on but came to support his workmates. Later that day his wife died after the power was cut at their home.

While the wages are minimal the hotel is spending $10 million on refurbishments. Many workers are in debt and really struggling. Centra’s parent company, Intercontinental Hotel Group, made operating profits of $NZ606 million last year

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