Stolen Holiday Pay must be paid back – the Government must act

By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

Bunnings have confessed to not paying annual leave correctly and agreed to pay back staff $11 million dollars going back 14 years.

This is an important win for First Union who represent workers at Bunnings and all workers in New Zealand.

It is probable that several million workers are owed money. But the vast majority of them are unlikely to see any of the money deliberately stolen from them by major corporates and payroll providers.

It seems the government has only directly engaged with the 100 biggest employers to demand they fix the problem. There is no mechanism to force compliance on the rest of the employers and payroll providers to ensure that the settlement process is carried through.

Wage theft is an international problem



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Burger King Workers to strike Friday 15th

Burger King union members across the country are starting strike action tomorrow (Friday 15th June) over pay, hours and health and safety at the fast food chain.

Unite Union National Secretary and lead negotiator Gerard Hehir says the members have had enough, with over 92% voting to take strike action.

“They are sick of having some of the lowest pay rates amongst major fast food companies, sick of working unpaid hours, sick of not getting their breaks and sick of Burger King not sticking to agreements.”

“We were disgusted to find salaried managers, who supervise staff and manage stores on their own, sometimes working for less than the minimum wage. They are routinely expected to not take breaks and to work extra hours without pay or time off. When your hourly rate is just $16.88 - only 34 cents above the minimum wage, you only have to work around one hour unpaid a week to go below the minimum wage.”

Because of these issues Unite has included BK salaried managers in negotiations for the first time and has a case before the Employment Authority for a former salaried manager who ended up in just that situation. Unite has been asking for weeks for clock-in/out time records for all salaried members. Burger King has refused to provide them, denying they exist despite having supplied such information on an individual basis previously.  

“This confirms our fears that minimum wage breaches amongst managers has been widespread. Because it involves minimum standards we have now asked the Labour Inspectorate to investigate. It is no surprise that many salaried managers are migrant workers. Pay rates are only effective if you actually get paid for all your work. Burger King needs to wake up - the days of employers getting away with stealing their workers time and wages are over.”

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Unite to picket Wendy's Dominion Rd, Auckland store at 5pm tonight despite injunction

Wendy's was given an interim injunction by the Employment Court yesterday against Unite Union to stop picketers trespassing on the company's land.

The union has disputed whether the employment court had the jurisdiction to issue such injunctions in the circumstances.

The union has also been sent maps by the company that appears to claim a right to exclude pickets from common areas including areas not owned or occupied by Wendy’s.

We do not accept this but will comply with until the full hearing of the court.

Unite National Director Mike Treen says "it is important for all supporters of workers in low-paid industries like fast food to respect these ongoing strikes and pickets by Wendy's workers."

Supporters are being asked to come along and show that support outside the company's Dominion Rd, Auckland, store tonight from 5-7pm.

westwend.jpgWendy's workers and supporters have been picketing stores over the last few weeks to improve the company offer

Wendys workers strike in West Auckland

Wendy's strikes spread to Auckland last night, kicking off with a member of the Unite negotiation team walking off the job to join pickets at the Dominion Road restaurant before workers walked off the job at Wendy's flagship store in Te Atatu.

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Budget 2018 – Fiscal restraint and state housing – ideological craziness exposed

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

The government has decided to increase the building of state housing from their extremely modest target of 1000 a year to the still very modest target of 1600 a year over the next four years.

Housing NZ is not being given any extra money to do this.

They will have to borrow on private financial markets at higher rates than the government can borrow money for.

The cost to the government will be more as a result.

This absurd result is the product of what they call “fiscal restraint”.

Here is how it works.

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More strikes planned for Event Cinemas this weekend

Unite Union has authorised a window of industrial action across Event cinemas up and down New Zealand again today, following on from the success of Wednesday nights' strike on the midnight screening of Star Wars movie Han Solo.

Strike action Tuesday night at star wars opening in Auckland Central


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Unite Union | Star Wars Film to face strike action tonight at Event Cinemas

Tonight, Unite Union advises Star Wars fans to go elsewhere instead of Event cinemas for the midnight premiere of Han Solo.
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Unite Union to join rally against Israeli massacres 2pm, Saturday, Aotea Square, Auckland


Unite Union is calling on all supporters of human rights to join the rally
at 2pm this Saturday in Auckland's Aotea Square to protest Israel's crime
against the Palestinian people.

It is time for New Zealand to expel the Israeli ambassador and boycott the
Israeli regime until the full rights of the Palestinian people is guaranteed.

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NZ Labour Letter May 2018, Vol. 9 No. 5

The New Zealand Labour Letter is published as a service to Labour by AIL of New Zealand Ltd.

New Zealand Labour News

Public Service Association called on Labour Government to “deliver on its promises” of a Living Wage for all public service workers. The union cited new data which revealed “how many workers aren’t paid enough to live decently.” Nearly 1 in 10 staff at the Ministry of Justice are paid below the Living Wage, which PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay said, “is very disappointing.” According to PSA, 329 Justice staff are paid below $20.55 an hour, most of them administrative staff supporting Court Registry workers. "Without admin staff, the court system would grind to a halt," Barclay said in a statement. "It’s imperative these workers are paid enough to feed and clothe their families, pay their bills and save for their retirement. We expect the Ministry to urgently address this in bargaining, which will begin shortly." He said PSA research has identified more than 1000 public service employees who are paid below the Living Wage.

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Wage theft at Maccas – $1 million a year and counting

By Mike Treen, Unite National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

I am getting a bit annoyed with McDonald's.

Unite Union believes they have been cheating staff of their alternative holiday entitlements for working on a public holiday. But it has been an uphill battle to get them to accept that fact.

At the end of last year, the Employment Relations Authority ruled on a case brought by the Labour Inspector against Wendy's following a complaint from a Unite member in Christchurch.  In essence, the authority said that so long as a worker had worked a majority of the same day over at least a three-month period then they were entitled to an alternative holiday or lieu day. Working a majority of days over three months made it an “otherwise working day” for them and therefore met the legal test in the Holidays Act. If you had been employed less than three months then a simple majority of weeks worked would make you eligible and a shorter period on a new shift pattern could also create eligibility.

Strike at night during contract negotiations in 2013


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