Hundreds of fast food workers around the New Zealand today rallied to call for an end to Zero Hour Contracts

Striking McDonalds’ workers took part in marches and pickets in Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin today, many speaking to the crowds and to the media about the hardship of living with insecure work and income. 
In Auckland 300 workers and supporters (many from other unions) marched up Queen Street, stopping to congratulate workers at Burger King and Starbucks stores who will have secure hours within months and picketing McDonalds and Wendy’s stores.
Images from the day can be found on our flickr site: and keep reading for a full wrap up of the day.
Read more

McDonalds "rostered zero hours" offer meaningless - Action on April 15


Strikes and protests are going ahead at McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy's on Wednesday as part of an international fast food workers day of action.

Unite National Director Mike Treen said McDonald's had put out some PR spin while they were in bargaining this morning with us that claimed an end to zero hours but is far from a genuine secure hours offer.
Their offer was for a "guarantee" of 80% of "rostered hours". This is a meaningless formula. Rostered hours are a long way from hours worked which is the formula we have used at Restaurant Brands.
Rostered hours are completely under the control of the company. They can go up and down at their discretion. These companies always roster people for fewer hours than they need and less than they usually work to keep the workers hungry for hours and waiting at home for a phone call for extra shifts. Managers will continue to have power to use and abuse the rosters. 
Workers will have no way of knowing whether the roster is fair and equitable. We need a guarantee of hours based on the hours a worker usually works not what they are rostered. That way it also allows guaranteed hours to build up over time. 
There is also no pathway or commitment to regular fixed shifts in the future, which is a very important aspect of the agreement with Restaurant Brands. Workers want to be able to plan their lives and with shifts that change week to week it simply isn’t possible.
We have not accepted this so called offer from McDonald's. We remain in dispute with all three companies. However bargaining continues. We ask the public to keep up the pressure on these three companies until we have genuine offers to end zero hours.

Auckland: Assemble outside Brittomart 12 noon

Palmerston North: 12 noon Rangitikei St, 

Wellington: 12 noon, Manners Mall, City Central

Christchurch: 6pm, McDonald’s Cnr Linwood Ave and Buckleys Rd.

Dunedin: 5pm, McDonald's Anderson's Bay, 391 Anderson's Bay Rd,

NZ Labour Letter April 2015

Enclosed is the latest edition of your New Zealand Labour Letter. 2015 marks 20 years of AIL in New Zealand and we look forward to continuing to serve the labour community. The online publication of the New Zealand Labour Letter is provided as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd. 

April 2015, Vol. 6 No. 4

National Labour News

Unite Union negotiated a new pact with Restaurant Brands that ends zero hour contracts by July. Unite has 2000 members at the chain which includes KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks stores. "This is a gigantic step forward for workers in the fast food industry," said Unite National Director Mike Treen. According to the union, the proposal promises staff at least 80 per cent of the average hours will be guaranteed using a three month rolling average of hours worked up to a maximum of 32 hours a week. The union said McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's are still refusing to move meaningfully on the issue. "It is time for New Zealanders to tell these profitable multi-national chains that they need to stop taking advantage of their often young and vulnerable workers and put an end to a labour practice that the people of New Zealand have made clear they find unacceptable," he said. Union members approved an industrial and public campaign to pressure these companies into ending zero hour contracts. Unite also will join the international day of action by fast food workers on April 15.

NZ Council of Trade Unions April 1 presented a petition on the steps of Parliament with more than 1000 signatures which called on the Government to ban the importation of asbestos and develop a comprehensive plan for the removal of all existing asbestos in New Zealand. The petition was accepted by Labour leader Andrew Little and will go to a select committee which will study it and decide what should be done. "Asbestos is the biggest workplace killer in New Zealand. It kills at least 170 workers annually, more than twice as many workers as accidental deaths at work. The number of people dying from asbestos related diseases (lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis) is increasing and the Government projections are that it will peak at 300 deaths annually, higher than the road toll," said CTU Secretary, Sam Huggard. He said New Zealand was "out of step" with other developed countries which have banned all products that contain asbestos.

Read more

Hell's Pizza surrender on zero hours

It seems some companies are surrendering on zero hours without a shot being fired. We had a discussion this morning at the Unite office about extending Unite's organising drive into other fast food joints like Hell's Pizza, Burger Fuel and Domino's. This afternooon we got the news that Hell's Pizza were going to stop using zero hour contracts. This is their statement.

Hell has no time for zero-hour contracts

The recent focus on zero-hour employment contracts has lead Hell to review and revise its policy regarding the practice. From today, employees of all 65 Hell Pizza franchises are guaranteed fixed weekly hours, which will be reflected in new employment contracts by June 1 2015.

Hell general manager Ben Cumming says: “Zero-hour contracts have been an industry norm for quite some time. Hell strives to be a desirable and well-regarded employer; we believe all of our franchisees have acted in good faith in regards to employees’ hours of work. As such, we don’t foresee the change having any material effect on our operations or staff.”


Deacon Chris Sullivan: "Zero Hour contracts- against God"

Dear Maccas, Burger King and Wendy's,

I urge you to end zero hours contracts which are a form of worker exploitation and are not a good buisness practice for companies wanting to succeed and grow.

As Pope Francis has often pointed out, such exploitation of workers is against God.

It's time to be honest and provide secure hours for your workers.

Not knowing what hours you will be working or how much will be in your pay packet from week to week is no way to live. People I know are genuinely shocked when they learn how your workers can have their hours and pay slashed from week to week simply because their manager decides so.

This causes so much unecessary stress on working families. Workers on zero hours cannot even get bank loans to buy houses or cars because they have zero hours.

You expect them to turn up to work when you want but don't have the decency to make sure they have enough paid hours each week to feed their families and pay their bills. These sorts of jobs have no place in a modern society.

You run profitable retail businesses with set hours. There is simply no good reason why you can't offer all your workers a guarantee of hours.

I understand that workers at KFC, Pizza Hutt, Carls Jr. and Starbucks will have guaranteed hours from July this year. If Restaurant Brands can do it then why can't you?

You all claim to be good, caring corporate citizens of New Zealand. It's time to prove it.

Kind Regards,
Rev Chris Sullivan


Send a message to Maccas, BK, and Wendys- End Zero Hours Contracts

Unite has now successfully negotiated for all workers at Restaurant Brands (KFC, Pizza Hutt, Starbucks and Carls Jr.) to have guaranteed hours from July this year.

However, McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy's have failed to get serious about the issue. Their proposals so far would only guarantee some hours for a tiny fraction of their workforce. They need to get the message that treating their workers like this in the 21st century is unacceptable.

Click here to send your message. 


Unite claims victory - Restaurant Brands to end zero hour contracts!

Restaurant Brands delegates meeeting in 2013 had secure hours high on their agenda. 

Media Release April 8, 2015

Restaurant Brands which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks chains has committed to end zero hour contracts by July this year in a new collective agreement negotiated with Unite Union.

Unite has 2000 members at the chain and is recommending the new terms to members in a vote to be held over the next week or so.
The Unite bargaining team was unanimous in its support for the proposal which promises staff at least 80% of the average hours will be guaranteed using a three month rolling average of hours worked up to a maximum of 32 hours a week.
"This is a gigantic step forward for workers in the fast food industry" says Unite National Director Mike Treen.
Unfortunately McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's are still refusing to move meaningfully on the issue. 
Union members at all three chains have now voted in support of an industrial and public campaign to try and convince these companies that they have to end zero hour contracts also.
Unite is appealing for members of the public to help them in this campaign. 
"It is time for New Zealanders to tell these profitable multi-national chains that they need to stop taking advantage of their often young and vulnerable workers and put an end to a labour practice that the people of New Zealand have made clear they find unacceptable. 
“Tomorrow we are asking people to go to our website at and sign a letter that will be forwarded to the three holdouts. They may think they can ignore their own workers but they won't be able to ignore tens of thousands of fair minded Kiwis who need to tell them to end zero hour contracts now. If Restaurant Brands can do it so can McDonald's, BK and Wendy's."
Unite members will also be joining the international day of action by fast food workers on April 15.

April 15: International fast food day of action

NZ workers to join US fast food workers (above) in taking action on April 15. 

Fast food workers in New Zealand will be joining an international day of action on April 15 to support an end to the super-exploitation of these vulnerable workers. In the US the cry is $15 and a union. In New Zealand we are demanding “End Zero Hour Contracts Now”.

Negotiations between Unite and all the fast food companies have reached a critical stage. The fight for a better deal has begun at Wendy's with action at a number of stores across the country. Votes to authorise strike action are being held at McDonald's and Burger King. Negotiations are continuing more productively with Restaurant Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks).

Ending zero-hour contracts in 2015

Unite was told by workers that 2015 was the year to end zero-hour contracts. That message was relayed to the companies at the end of negotiations two years ago. We talked about it in blog after blog. We had meetings with the companies over the past two years to remind them to be ready. We met with them again at the end of 2015 and held a fast food workers conference in early December to underline the point.

However, only Restaurant Brands has made even a modest effort to engage meaningfully on the issue. The other companies appear to be just stringing us along until the collective agreements expired on March 31.

Read more

Workers Say the Fight for 15 Isn’t Just About Raises—It’s a Fight for Meaning in Their Lives


College students crippled by educational debt and part-time university faculty are joining fast food workers in their latest action on April 15

If Douglas Hunter succeeds with his plans on April 15, the public’s attention this year may be diverted from grumbling about taxes to demanding higher wages for millions of low-income service workers—including many who earn so little at their jobs that they need public subsidies for a minimal standard of living.

Hunter, 53, is a leader nationally and in Chicago of the Fight for $15, an ambitious campaign that New York City fast food workers launched two-and-a-half years ago. But other cities picked up the call, then other occupations, from retail workers and childcare providers to adjunct professors. It has caught the imagination of the public as well and notched some notable victories, such as a $15 minimum wage in Seattle and Seatac in Washington state, as well as in San Francisco.

“We can’t wait. Jewel isn’t waiting. People’s Gas isn’t waiting,” he says, referencing a Chicago grocery chain and natural gas utility, respectively. “We need higher wages to support our families. Many people thought we were crazy two years ago when we walked off our jobs in New York and demanded $15 an hour. They don’t think we’re crazy now.”

Read more

Anti-zero hours strike in Ireland


By Michael Taft - Irish Left Review

This Thursday, April 2nd, workers in Dunnes Stores throughout the country are coming out on a one-day strike.  In essence, the dispute boils down to two urgent issues.

The first is zero/low hour contracts.  Such contracts require employees to be available for work but do not guarantee hours of work.  Therefore, workers cannot be assured of their income from one week to the next.  And because hours and shifts change, workers cannot plan childcare, eldercare, family time or leisure.

The Dunnes Stores Workers are seeking what is called ‘banded hours’.  This means people are rostered in such a manner that they are guaranteed a minimum and maximum number of working hours and, so, income.


Read more