Unite Union Media Release April 28, 2015
McDonald's has walked out of bargaining with Unite Union today despite taking the first steps towards a meaningful offer around ending zero hour contracts.
Unite National Director Mike Treen says the union was bewildered by the company action.
We had welcomed their offer and wanted more information around how that might work with secure shifts for staff in the future. Other fast food companies like Restaurant Brands and Burger King have acknowledged that a secure hours regime will necessarily involve some form of secure shifts as well.
We also wanted to continue bargaining around a few other claims that were important to the union including a special payment for members to allow the terms of the collective agreement to be passed on to non members of the union. We also wanted the right of staff to join the union when they join the company and the right of the union to to put up union information in stores without a company veto. These are basic rights we have at other fast food companies.
Instead of negotiating meaningfully on these issues which we prepared to do they walked out.
Unite will conducting strike action by its members at McDonald's on May 1. We ask all fair minded Kiwis to show their support for these workers on that day which is also May Day or International Workers Day.
The author is a McDonald's crew member in the South Island.
Going on strike is scary, but it's also very exciting.
It's not like other kinds of protest. You're not just showing up to the city square at 3pm, marching down the road shouting about the war/the environment/the Illuminati lizard people then going home to obsessively search Facebook for photos with you in them. Instead, you have to walk off your own job, under the watchful and perhaps slightly disapproving eyes of the shift manager.
Normally these are the guys in charge, the ones who tell you what to do, but for this one moment, on this one day, life gets flipped-turned upside down and you take control. It's exciting, but it can also be very scary.
In the days leading up to the strike you sneak conversations with your coworkers while the managers are out back. You remind them that the union is negotiating for us all to get secure hours and higher wages, and that the bosses are refusing to budge. You argue that if we strike it'll show the company that we means business, and it'll put us in the media – who, for once, are overwhelmingly on our side. Everyone knows zero hour contracts are bullshit.Read more
By Shanna Reeder, Unite Hotels organiser
Today our Prime Minister John Key admitted to repeatedly sexually harassing a waitress in a cafe he frequents.
She told her story anonymously this morning via The Daily Blog http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/04/22/exclusive-the-prime-minister-and-the-waitress/
Hundreds of fast food workers around the New Zealand today rallied to call for an end to Zero Hour Contracts
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.
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, https://www.facebook.com/events/641363545998133/
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.
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.”
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.
Rev Chris Sullivan
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.