System protects corporate thieves, cheats, and killers

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

Towards the end of last year there were a relentless series of stories of corporate malfeasance.

Pumpkin Patch shut up shop with the loss of hundreds of jobs and is refusing to pay its workers in New Zealand the redundancy pay they owe them by hiding behind a corporate structure that pretends that there were different companies involved when they all have the same ultimate owners.

“It’s really just a technicality that Pumpkin Patch Limited don’t own the stock, and its subsidiary, Pumpkin Patch Originals Ltd do,” First Union organiser Lisa Meto Fox told the November 24 NZ Herald. “They’re a wholly-owned subsidiary, the same directors and the same business,” she said.


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WINZ bosses murder a beneficiary – Paula Bennet is responsible

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

A coroner’s inquest has revealed how WINZ has adopted a punitive culture that led directly to the recent suicide of one of the people it was meant to be helping.

Celebrated former beneficiary Paula Bennet was the minister in charge at the time and should be help responsible.



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Xmas Holidays: Contacting Unite and public holiday entitlements

Unite union wishes all our members and supporters a very happy Xmas and New Year. 

Over the past year Unite union delegates and organisers have recruited 3,855 new members. As most of you will know, turnover is very high in our industries (around 70% a year) and so we lost 3,524 members who left their jobs. However, the net gain of 331 is our best yearly increase for 5 years

Contacting Unite over the holidays

We know that many of you will be working over much of the holiday period and we want to make sure you can get help if you need it and know your entitlements for the public holidays.

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Auckland Organising jobs at Unite


Unite has vacancies for two Organisers in the Auckland region,

  • a permanent part-time position and
  • a permanent full time position

Both positions will be based in Auckland

The successful applicants will primarily be recruiting and organising workers in the Call Centre, Fast Food and Cinema sectors, although they may also be involved in other sectors that Unite represents from time to time.


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McDonald's worker backpaid over $1200 for being rostered Zero hours for three weeks

A 19 year old Unite union member has reclaimed over $1200 in backpay after complaining that she wasn't rostered at all, for three weeks in a row.

Stacey, who works at a McDonald's in West Auckland should have been rostered 24.5 hours per week under the secure hours system in the collective agreement, but was removed from the roster at her store after trying to reduce her availability to work for McDonald's because she secured a second job.

This sort of thing used to be more common with fast food companies casually making dramatic cuts to worker's hours or taking them off the roster completely in response to worker's wanting to reduce their availability to work for them. Now workers can reclaim backpay if they are rostered less than their secure hours number. This has led to many unite union members reclaiming backpay and rostered hours this year.

Unite union members and delegates working at McDonald's are advised to keep a close eye on their secure hours numbers and understand their rights to reclaim backpay if they are rostered less than that number. Unite members should also contact their organiser if they suspect that their secure hours number has been arbitrarily changed without their agreement.

Unite union is now taking legal action against McDonald's for failing to follow legislation introduced to ban the use of Zero Hour contracts in New Zealand. The union has found that McDonald's are putting many new staff on three-hour minimum contracts and refusing to pay compensation for being available to work additional shifts as required by the law. The company is are also refusing to offer hours to existing staff before hiring new staff.

Well done Stacey.


Gary Cranston
Fast Food Organiser
West Auckland & Northland
029 4555 979

KFC union delegate goes above and beyond during Gisborne power outage

During the recent power outage in Gisborne our delegate and newly elected Unite Union Executive member and KFC worker Memory Leach went above and beyond her duties.

When the power went out Memory was still asleep as she had worked the night shift. She was awoken by members in the store ringing her telling her that the Restaurant Manager has told them all to go home, but they were scared that if they left they will not be paid.

Memory rocked up in her Unite Union hoodie and a thermos of hot tea and coffee in hands. The restaurant manager asked what she was doing there and Memory stated that she had brought the staff a hot drink and was there to make sure the workplace was safe for them to be in. Memory explained that she was making sure there was adequate lighting, ventilation and clean water for them to wash there hands. She also took a note of who was on shift at that time and took a photo of the roster to make sure that everyone will be paid, as no one was certain when the power was going to be turned back on.

Later that day Memory also notified members of where the water tankers were in Gisborne and that the City council was cooking sausages for people who couldn't cook anything or afford gas for the BBQs. She also went to Pizza Hut and Carls Jr to make sure they all were aware of their rights during the outage.

The next day Memory shot down to the City Council to make sure that the water was still safe to drink and again with another hot thermos of tea and coffee she went into KFC to recheck everything was running smoothly. By that time the generators were up and running but the store was not yet opened as the chicken had not been delivered. As it was the end of the pay week she mentioned to the Restaurant Manager "does payroll know which hours and which staff need to be paid for yesterday?". The Restaurant Manager quickly sorted it out.

Delegates are leading the way and being empowered to stand up and help others.


"I would not have had the strength, courage or knowledge to do anything like this had it not been firstly for my Menbers and the amazing  encouragement from Unite Union.

I am passionate about looking after our members and put my heart and soul into standing up for what is right. Huge thank you to Unite Union for giving me the tools to do so, I hope to make not only Unite proud but also my team during my time on this Journey and will continue to do so for as long as they will have me.

Once again Thank you Unite for equipping my with all this knowledge to STAND UP & FIGHT BACK!!!!!"

- Memory Leach, KFC Gisborne

Fine and reparation increased by $34,000 in AFFCO meat hook impaling case


Cleaner Jason Matahiki suffered a serious workplace injury when a meat hook went through the side of his head while working at the Affco NZ Rangiuru plant.

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US Fight for 15 plans 'most disruptive' wage protest and strike on Tuesday

Thousands of low-wage airport and fast-food workers across US plan to protest on fourth anniversary of first major action in light of Trump’s election victory


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Unite Union members complete union's first climate change workshop

Unite union members from Sky City, KFC and McDonald's spent Saturday completing Unite Union's first ever climate change workshop.

Participants spent the morning exploring the basics of the climate problem itself, then went on to explore the interconnectedness of climate change's causes and effects.

Each participant then identified an aspect of climate change that was most relevant to their own lives and how they personally could connect with cooperative projects that are addressing this.

We will be running two more workshops between now and the end of the year.

Union members are encouraged to contact Gary Cranston if they would like to take part.


Gary Cranston

Fast Food Organiser

West Auckland - North Auckland - Northland

029 4555 979






Earthquake information from Unite

Hi All,gerard1.jpgUnite is sending this email to all our members in areas affected by last nights significant earthquake.

Firstly, we hope that all of you, your families and friends are safe and well. So far we have not heard any reports of our members being hurt, and we hope that this remains the case.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Union on 0800 2 86483.

Important information to remember for now and the coming days:

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