KFC refuse redundancy payouts
(Reprinted from Stuff website)
By SARAH HARRIS
Thirteen Kaikohe KFC employees are being left high and dry before Christmas after being made redundant with no compensation.
Restaurant Brands, who own KFC, is closing the store on December 2 due to several years of running at a loss.
Unite Union organiser Gary Cranston says the store has known it might close for the last year but only told staff on November 12.
See Video interview with Unite Organiser Gary Cranston
Sisters Jolene and Kalein Howard will be left struggling to survive if KFC refuse redundancy compensation.
"Everyone's worried about how they're going to put food on the table and look after the kids. It's extremely difficult to find work in Kaikohe.
"They offered not a dollar in redundancy payment which is terrible considering their hard work. It's rotten."
Restaurant Brands spokesperson says the staff were given three weeks notice.
"We also offered staff the opportunity to relocate to other stores."
The workers are asking the community to boycott KFC to support their plight.
Kalein Howard, 30, has worked at the Kaikohe KFC for four years. She supports her three children, younger brother and sick father with her partner who pulls in $300 a week working at the Warehouse. She says if they lose her income they won't be able to cover necessities. Howard worked until full term with her last pregnancy because the shop was short staffed.
"While [Restaurant Brand's managers] are enjoying your Christmases, giving their children presents, our kids are going to miss out.
"I've helped this store for four years. They can't even help me for a couple of months until I get back on my feet.
"We're not going to go down without a fight."
Jolene Howard, 29, also works at the store. She's the sole income earner for her two sons and partner. One of her sons is autistic and requires visits to specialists in Auckland and medication. Jolene says moving to another town for a job isn't an option as two of her children are buried in the local graveyard and she has strong family ties to the area.
"We just make ends meet. If they take this job away I won't be able to survive."
Cranston says the workers will protest until the company agrees to compensate them for four weeks pay and two weeks for every year they've worked after that.
Last year Restaurant Brands shut down a Pizza Hut call centre. Fourteen people lost their jobs and compensation was only given after a strong campaign with their union and the media.
None of the part-timers had redundancy provisions in their contracts. Severance pay is not compulsory in New Zealand.