An opinion piece from Unite Union Executive member Melissa Goodman
A well deserved fist pump broke the air at a recent meeting of Unite union's executive delegates when it was announced that Salaried Managers will join hourly paid crew in negotiating for decent pay and working conditions for the first time ever as part of this year's contract negotiations.
I am a participating member of Unite union's executive, as the elected delegate for Burger King - most recently working as a Shift Supervisor and Assistant Store Manager. As such, I understand first hand that Burger King employees experience some of the lowest pay in the large corporate fast food industry in New Zealand.
Since the union was established just over a decade ago, Unite has represented workers at Burger King with fierce gusto. However, the collective agreement between Antares Restaurants Group Limited (trading as Burger King NZ) and Unite has always been limited to those workers on an hourly wage; excluding those on salaries.
At the same time, a number of supervisor workers are resisting a current push from upper management to move from their current hourly rate to a salaried rate. Although it may be presumed that moving to a salary contract may provide wage security, this move for many already has resulted in: a pathetic hourly pay rate for those expected to work long extended weekly hours and the undercutting of hourly paid workers who are already struggling with no chance of overtime pay. Supervisors are all too aware that the expectation to work long hours and cover for company managed under-staffing is a daily occurrence. For those moving to a salaried rate the chance of being paid a decent wage for the ACTUAL TIME they work is revoked.
Many salaried managers and supervisors are already being paid well below, the already low, market rate; even less if their actual time worked is taken into account. One of Unite's organisers recently came across a manager managing an entire Burger King restaurant on just $16.04 per hour, or perhaps less if you factor in the amount of hours they were expected to work each week.
Burger King and Wendy's are falling way behind in regards to wages when compared to similar fast food outlets. The vast majority of CREW members with no management qualifications or experience at KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks are paid more than this!
To make it worse, Burger King NZ includes the employer's Kiwisaver contribution as part of the salary when advertising and offering salaried positions.
The salary is effectively used to undercut wages, give a false sense of promotion and move workers off the collective agreement and onto individual contracts without a way to collectively negotiate. Less pay for more work, more responsibilities, less flexibility in your working arrangements and a whole lot more stress! Burger King NZ are maintaining their position, destitute of vision, to remain the lowest of the low - a change is desperately needed.
BUT NOW, these diligent, conscientious, tireless and earnest salaried workers will have a chance to collectively push for a decent wage in the first ever collective agreement that includes Burger King's salaried workers in New Zealand. This move from Unite will have a profound impact on Burger King employees because ALL workers need protection from the tirade of unethical practices that feed down to all levels of the corporate hierarchy.
Negotiations between Unite and Antares Restaurant Group Ltd are due to commence in August.
By Andrew Dean
(Reprinted from Stuff)
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
By Unite National Secretary Gerard Hehir
This online article was published without any attempt (that we are aware of) to contact Unite Union to verify the claims made. The headline, in particular, is simply wrong. There was no "union money" behind the scheme.
The New Zealand Labour Letter is provided as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd.
National Labour News
The Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) praised the decision by Ports of Auckland to stop releasing methyl bromide emissions into the air. MUNZ National Secretary Joe Fleetwood said the decision is an example of what publicly owned ports can deliver, "if and when they prioritise community interests." The union said the move to fully recapture the toxic gas after fumigation "sets a new benchmark for industry best practice." According to MUNZ, methyl bromide is linked to motor neurone disease and harmful to the ozone layer and used to kill insects in logs before export. "We will continue the campaign to stop rogue employers exposing people to methyl bromide for another decade if need be," said Fleetwood. "Eliminating the risk from our ports and communities will save lives." The union also warned that the rivalry between publicly-owned ports undermines best practice standards, and drives a race to the bottom in the industry. "The Government must not allow best practice in some ports to be undermined elsewhere," said Fleetwood.
MUNZ National Secretary Joe FleetwoodRead more
By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union
(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)
The UK election was extraordinary for a number of reasons.
The Conservative Prime Minister called it early because opinion polls gave her at least a 20 percentage point lead over Labour. A huge victory awaited. Just as importantly a crushing defeat of Labour was possible. The hated Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would be crushed and tossed aside.
The Conservatives won 318 seats and lost 13 seats. Labour won 262 seats and gained 32. In theory, 326 seats are needed for a majority in the 650-seat parliament. Actually, it is nearer 323 as Sinn Fein in the North of Ireland won seven seats which they don’t occupy because of their republican views.
The Labour vote in the UK election reached 40%. Their MP number increased the Conservative Party just made it back in office with 42% of the vote and the support of a Democratic Unionist Party – a deeply reactionary party based in Northern Ireland with terrorist links that hold 10 seats.
An electoral earthquake is coming in the UK. If you are around next Friday night we are having a few drinks to celebrate at the Unite Union office in Auckland. Come along from 2pm and we will broadcast the results on a big screen.
The Jeremy Corbyn lead Labour Party has gone from 28% to 38% in the polls in a few weeks. They are now just three points behind in one of the most recent. This happened as soon as certain electoral rules kicked in for the media to start treating each party in a fairer way.