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

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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.

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

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US: We Are Winning the Fight for $15

What started with 200 workers striking in New York has ballooned into a national movement wielding real political power.

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The Future of Work: A nightmare or arena of struggle

The Future of Work Conference sponsored by the Labour Party last week was a stimulating look at a range of ideas for dealing with the challenges that the current system is preparing for people in the 21st Century.

However, for many speakers there appeared to be a technological determinism that I believe should be resisted. This involves a belief that change is inevitable, the outcome will be widespread loss of jobs and increased insecurity, and all we can do is try and minimise the damage.

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Employers holiday pay cheating can be stopped!

By Mike Treen, National Director Unite Union

reported on The Daily Blog last month of cases Unite had brought against major employers whom we had accused of stealing holiday pay from their staff.

Last week MBIE, the government agency responsible for enforcing legal minimum standards like the Holidays Act, reported that they were guilty of similar unlawful practices with their own staff and a many were due for a back payment.

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What’s Behind the Rise in Income Inequality? Technology or Class Struggle?

The following article has been reprinted from Counterpunch. The author, Matt Vidal is Senior Lecturer in Work and Organizations at King’s College London, Department of Management. He is editor-in-chief of Work in Progress, a public sociology blog of American Sociological Association, where this article first ran. You can follow Matt on Twitter @ChukkerV.

The author's conclusions are similar to my own when I looked at the course of the growth of inequality in New Zealand over the last few decades. 

The issues he discusses are also relevant to the discussion planned to the Future of Work Conference being hosted by the Labour Party this week.

Mike Treen (Unite Union National Director)

By Matt Vidal

Over the past three decades, income inequality has risen in most of the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A recent analysis of 22 OECD countries from 1985 to 2013 found that inequality increased in 17 of them (including the US, UK, Canada and Germany), underwent little change in four (Belgium, Netherlands, France, Greece) and declined in only one (Turkey). Over the same period, in the 17 richest countries GDP growth primarily benefitted the top 10% of the population, with the bottom 40% receiving little from a quarter century of growth.

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