One worker has been backpaid and several others are waiting to be paid for working illegal, unpaid pre-employment work trials and other unpaid work at McDonald's New Zealand's newest restaurant. Workers had to attend compulsory unpaid meetings and work for free cleaning the restaurant in preparation for opening day.
Heidi Louise Batt worked two unpaid 4 hour shifts without being told that she wouldn't be paid prior. She wasn't told that she was rejected for the job until she asked to be paid. It was the first job she had applied for in her life.
Initially claiming that a manager had made a mistake, McDonald's Franchisee Dinesh Mani paid Ms Batt at the request of Unite union, later admitting to running illegal work trials as part of the franchises normal hiring processes.
Mr Mani, who's family helped him buy his first McDonald's restaurant already owned four McDonald's restaurants before opening the controversial Te Atatu restaurant. Over 1400 people signed a Change.org petition in support of Te Atatu Peninsula residents campaigning against a 24 hour drive through McDonald's restaurant being built in their neighbourhood.
"Mr Mani has made tremendous amounts of profits from West Aucklanders hard work. McDonald's NZ made $52.8 million in profit in 2016. He should pay all workers for all of the the unpaid work they were required to do, no questions asked." said Gary Cranston, Unite Union Fast Food Organiser for West Auckland and Northland.
Update: 29 June 2017
Unite Union has since received assurance from McDonald's head office that Mr Mani has been spoken to and union members will be paid for all unpaid work they undertook at the Te Atatu McDonald's restaurant.
Fast Food Organiser West Auckland & Northland
029 4555 979
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
A 19 year old Unite union member has reclaimed over $1200 in backpay after complaining that she wasn't rostered at all, for three weeks in a row.
Stacey, who works at a McDonald's in West Auckland should have been rostered 24.5 hours per week under the secure hours system in the collective agreement, but was removed from the roster at her store after trying to reduce her availability to work for McDonald's because she secured a second job.
This sort of thing used to be more common with fast food companies casually making dramatic cuts to worker's hours or taking them off the roster completely in response to worker's wanting to reduce their availability to work for them. Now workers can reclaim backpay if they are rostered less than their secure hours number. This has led to many unite union members reclaiming backpay and rostered hours this year.
Unite union members and delegates working at McDonald's are advised to keep a close eye on their secure hours numbers and understand their rights to reclaim backpay if they are rostered less than that number. Unite members should also contact their organiser if they suspect that their secure hours number has been arbitrarily changed without their agreement.
Unite union is now taking legal action against McDonald's for failing to follow legislation introduced to ban the use of Zero Hour contracts in New Zealand. The union has found that McDonald's are putting many new staff on three-hour minimum contracts and refusing to pay compensation for being available to work additional shifts as required by the law. The company is are also refusing to offer hours to existing staff before hiring new staff.
Well done Stacey.
Fast Food Organiser
West Auckland & Northland
029 4555 979