New Zealand Labour Letter - June 2016

Below is the latest edition of the New Zealand Labour Letter.

We urge you to make your voice heard in support of Talley/AFFCO workers by going to this website today,

The online publication of the New Zealand Labour Letter is provided as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd. 

National Labour News

“Bill English and his Government are so focused on reducing government expenditure that they have lost sight of the increasingly urgent need to make improvements to working people’s lives now. Housing, health, education and many other parts of our lives need Government action,” said Council of Trade Union President Richard Wagstaff after the Minister of Finance delivered the National Government’s 8th consecutive Budget. He said working people are “underwhelmed and disappointed.” Wagstaff called the budget “a lost opportunity to invest in our long-term future.” The CTU’s budget analysis took aim at health care which has $300 million less in real terms over the next year than it had last year. On education, $43 million has been put into a “social investment” experiment to target funding to “at risk” students. “Our concern is that the result of this funding cut is that students just off the ‘at risk’ designation will pay the price,” the CTU said.


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Keeping KFC Albany warm this winter

By Gary Cranston, Unite Organiser

Unite takes health and safety very seriously. So when I visited KFC Albany last week and found workers wrapped up in their own jackets, freezing cold, because the front door was malfunctioning and staying open. We decided something had to be done. One worker came out to show me her hands. Her hands were bright pink and sore from the cold. Customers were also complaining.

Gary Cranston speaking to Unite conference 2015

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Hotel Newsletter Unite Union June 2016

Download the June 2016 newsletter for Unite Union members working in the hotels sector.

Click here to download (PDF file 670KB)

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Workers could be owed billions of dollars in holiday pay

By Mike Treen, Unite National Director

The systematic corporate theft of worker's holiday pay which I first publicly identified on The Daily Blog in February this year could result in up to $2 billion in back pay for hundreds of thousands of workers in New Zealand.

Wendy's workers protest holiday pay theft

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A chilling move from New Zealand’s most notorious company?

Social media has become a means of workers talking to each other and organising around their issues and disputes, but now Talley’s is trying to shut this down in the name of “good faith”.

Everyone knows Talley’s record : they’ve been found guilty of multiple breaches of workers rights over decades, and more recently unlawful lockouts of workers and breaches of good faith in their North Island AFFCO plants.

Many AFFCO and Talley’s workers have taken to Facebook with secret sites where they can express their opinion. The Meat Workers Union has set up its Jobs that Count website, Facebook and Twitter account – initially to deal with issues in the meat industry as a whole, but increasingly to build support for MWU members who are being treated badly by AFFCO Talleys. It’s a legitimate means of reaching out, but not according to Talleys.

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Victory for fast food workers on international day of action

Unite Union scored a win for workers at Restaurant Brands on April 14 which was an international day of action for fast food workers.

We discovered just a few weeks ago that Restaurant Brands (owner of the KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Carl’s Jr brands in NZ) planned to begin franchising some of its Carl’s Jr stores. We received very little notice of the planned move and discovered the new “owner” planned to make a whole range of cuts to the terms and conditions in the collective agreement.

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Restaurant Brands target of Day of Action for fast food workers April 14

Unite is targeting Restaurant Brands, owners of the KFC, Carl's Jr, Pizza Hut and Starbucks brands, as part of its international day of action for fast food workers on April 14.
Restaurant Brands has begun a process of franchising company-owned Carl's Jr stores without proper consultation. The terms of the new employment agreements being offered by a franchise owner in Gisborne are radically below those negotiated in the collective agreement Unite Union has with the company.
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April 14: International fast food workers day


Media Release - International Union of Foodworkers, Geneva, April 11

Restaurant workers around the world will be standing up for their rights on International Fast Food Workers’ Day

The giant transnational corporations who dominate the fast food industry rely on the labour of millions of workers. Although many of these workers are young, often students seeking part-time work, a large and growing number of older workers now depend on fast food jobs to sustain their families.

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Annual leave debacle continues to grow

By Mike Treen, Unite National Director

Labour inspectors have found that every one of the 20 employers they have looked at so far were found to have breached the 2003 Holidays Act.

One payroll provider, Matt Gardner of Smoothpay Payroll, believed most of New Zealand’s 2 million workers have probably been underpaid because of faulty payroll systems.

He said every employer transferring to his system over the last 20 years had been doing it incorrectly. “The majority of the payroll systems used in New Zealand still fail to comply with the Holidays Act”.


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NZ Labour Letter - March 2016

National Labour News

FIRST Union and Bunnings agreed to be bound by recommendations made by the Employment Relations Authority in an effort to end their long-running dispute over roster changes. FIRST Union retail and finance secretary Maxine Gay said the authority had agreed to help the two sides in their negotiations in a process known as facilitated bargaining. Facilitated bargaining is where the ERA steps in to help overcome impasses in collective bargaining. At the end of the process the ERA will make recommendations for a settlement which both sides will accept. "With the authority supervising the process, we're confident we can break the deadlock on rostering,'' she said. The issue involves demands by the company for changes to the workers’ rosters that the union said would allow managers to impose rosters on staff with just a few days’ notice in some circumstances. Bunnings recently suspended hundreds of workers across New Zealand for removing their aprons in a protest against the chain store’s refusal to negotiate on rostering. Gay said the staff would be wearing their aprons as the strike action been lifted.

First Union's Retail Secretary Maxine Gay speaking to Bunnings' workers picket

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