An 18 year old Burger King employee was assaulted by management on Sunday the 19th of February for monitoring temperature levels in an overheated and understaffed Burger King restaurant on Lincoln Road in West Auckland.
Workers had been forced to work in 33 degree heat and been refused rest breaks for up to five hours as the drive through backed up. Crew took it upon themselves to get a thermometer from nearby Burger Fuel workers, record the temperature at 33 degrees and call the air conditioning repair company after restaurant management failed to take action.
Unite Union has repeatedly warned senior company management of their responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace for its employees. Specifically we have on a number of occasions raised concerns about the inadequate air conditioning at the Lincoln Road restaurant and the company's failure to provide employees with needed rest breaks for health and safety reasons.
In 2015 workers at Burger King Lincoln Road walked off shift after being subjected to temperatures as high as 34.5 degrees and a disgusting fly infestation in the kitchen.
Workers and the union have been met with repeated delay, excuses and have been provided with incorrect information since reporting the widespread non provision of breaks at Lincoln Road Burger King last year.
Managers at the same restaurant have remained on staff after assaulting other workers. Workers have been rostered to continue working alongside people who have assaulted them rather than being separated to ensure their health and safety. The company has also disciplined and terminated workers who have defended themselves against assault. The comment by the manager who said "The customers are more important" tells us where the company's priorities lie, and its not with the welfare of their employees.
Yesterday's incident at Burger King Lincoln Road was immediately reported to West Auckland police who took a statement and explained that they will be making contact with the assailant.
The entire incident was captured on CCTV, which we are asking the company provide to unite union and have advised the police to obtain as part of their investigation. The company had previously attempted to conceal CCTV footage showing another manager assaulting another young female crew member in the same restaurant in 2012. [see link below]
Unite union organiser Gary Cranston will be representing another manager from Burger King's West City restaurant this week who was terminated by the company after defending herself against a violent customer who had verbally and physically attacked staff causing serious injuries. In this case the customer had made public complaints about the manager on Facebook that turned out to be untrue. The manager was terminated despite other workers at the store, loyal customers and even mall security presenting a petition to the company asking not to sack the manager because she was acting in defence of herself and her coworkers. Perhaps because Antares Group, who owns the BK franchise in New Zealand really does believe that "the customers are more important" than the welfare of their employees.
For comment contact Gary Cranston
Fast Food Organiser
West Auckland - Northland
029 4555 979