Unions are vowing to ramp up their demands for better pay and working conditions.
Official figures for the year to the end of June show industrial disputes rose by 30% on the previous year.
Unite says it has unionised employees in small businesses including cafes, fast food outlets and cinemas.
Its next goal is to lift minimum pay rates to $15 per hour in time for the Rugby World Cup. At present, the hourly rate is $12.75.
Unite says employees want a share of the bounty from the event.
General secretary Matt McCarten says a petition calling for a $15 hourly rate has a quarter of a million signatures.
The Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union says it will seek new collective agreements which reinstate conditions lost under proposed law changes affecting sick leave, holiday pay and the 90 day probationary period.