The ongoing pay dispute between fast food restaurant McDonald's and its workers is set to heat up today.
Striking workers say they will burn an effigy of the McDonald's clown, Ronald McDonald, as they rally outside the chain's quarterly national conference at the Hyatt Hotel, on Queen St in Auckland.
Unite union national director Mike Treen said union members from about 20 restaurants in Auckland and Hamilton would stop work and converge on the conference at midday.
He said the burning of the Ronald McDonald figure was to mark Guy Fawke's day and represented employees' anger at being forced to exist on poverty wages, with no guaranteed hours of work.
"Today at restaurants in three cities young, angry workers are telling the world's biggest fast food company that 'we're not lovin' low pay and unfair rostering," Mr Treen said.
"Every day we are told new horror stories of work at McDonald's, more workers join our union and every week members at a new restaurant go on strike.
"If McDonald's bosses decide not to treat its workers with respect then burning Ronald will only be the beginning of a long, hot summer."
Meanwhile, workers from Wellington McDonald's would also walk off the job at midday in solidarity with their Auckland counterparts.
Mr Treen said the strikes marked the biggest day of strikes since the campaign began in September.
McDonald's New Zealand released a statement saying it was consulting with its franchisees this week with regards to wage proposals put forward by the Unite union.
McDonald's New Zealand's managing director Mark Hawthorne said the company had already committed to giving the union a response as soon as possible after that consultation period.
"Their ongoing strike action today is unnecessary and beyond the good faith bargaining process we are working within," Mr Hawthorne said.
"McDonald's is 80 per cent owned and operated by franchisees, and wage negotiations should be considered by the whole McDonald's community."
McDonald's had been in wage negotiations with Unite since the union reneged on a conditional collective employment agreement with McDonald's in February, Mr Hawthorne said.