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Dear Maccas, Burger King and Wendys, about those zero hour contracts

Written By: - Date published: 4:56 pm, April 10th, 2015 - 11 comments
Categories: boycott, business, capitalism, minimum wage, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:


Following its success in persuading Restaurant Brands to do away with zero hour contracts Unite Union has set up a webpage where people can email these organisations.  Go to the page if you want to contribute.

From the page:

Time’s up on Zero Hours for fast food workers.

Unite Union has been negotiating over the last month with the major fast food companies to end Zero Hour Contracts, where workers are not guaranteed any hours and have to survive on whatever work the companies give them week to week.

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.

Use the form below to send your message to Senior Management at Macca’s, BK, and Wendys and tell them to end Zero Hour contracts for their workers. You can copy and paste the suggested wording below, or write your own (polite but firm) message. Please share this form with your friends and family.

Dear Maccas, Burger King and Wendy’s,

It’s time to get real about 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. 

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.




11 comments on “Dear Maccas, Burger King and Wendys, about those zero hour contracts ”

  1. Sirenia 1

    Common in retail too. It’s a largely un unionised sector, unfortunately.

  2. Paul 2

    Boycott McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s.
    It’s the only message they understand.
    Share on social media. Get as many people to do so as well.

    • wtl 2.1

      Indeed, I sent a message saying I would to exactly that.

      • mac1 2.1.1

        I sent a message and received an automatic reply from Wendy’s which claimed that in recent mediation the Ministry of Business etc told Wendy’s and Unite that Wendy’s did not have a zero hours policy.

        Certainly, their workers in February and March thought they did, in Palmerston North and in Dunedin, according to Googled news media sources.

        Their chief executive claimed in February that Wendy’s ‘preferred’ a minimum of 10 hours per week and that their average hours per week were 24 hours.

        I query whether 24 hours work gives a living wage.

        And ‘preferred’ is not the same as ‘guaranteed’.

        • wtl

          I got the same reply. There is no legal definition of a “zero hours contract” so clearly MBIE/Wendy’s might define it one way, while Unite define it another way.

          In any case, you are right, “preferred” does not mean the same thing as “guaranteed”. Since Restaurant Brands are offering guaranteed working hours while Wendy’s are not, so it’s a simple choice as to which establishments I will be visiting in the future.

        • Atiawa

          These burger n’ fries joints aren’t 8 to 5 businesses, Monday to Friday. Alot of them are open 24/7 365.

          24 x 365 = 8,760 hours Thats a serious number of forty hour week permanent full time job’s.

          Besides keeping workers hungry for hours they reduce sick leave liabilities with less than full-time employee’s and have a ready and available on-call labour force.
          Great for business & profitability. Crap for all else.

  3. mickysavage 3

    Richard Pamatatau just tweeted:

    “Did Burger King really pull adds off TV3?”

    Interesting tie in of stories to Campbell’s story on the subject, BK pulling ads and management moving to get rid of Campbell if the tweet can be verified.

    • felix 3.1

      They’ll probably want to pull ads from all of mediaworks then. Garner has got all het up about zero hours and low wages on radiolive this week.

    • Wensleydale 3.2

      Incredibly stupid on BK’s part if this is true. Such an obvious case of throwing their toys out of the cot when they get a slap on the wrist for shafting their workers. PR catastrophe waiting to happen.

  4. Whoops! I already boycotted them years ago for poor work conditions, unacceptable “food-like substances” and how they stomp out local food restaurants. You’re telling me that lots of people still buy this stuff and are keeping them in business?

    Huh. Is it you? 🙂

    Seriously, when I don’t want to cook, there are so many decent local fast food places that aren’t mega chains. I can get Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern style food, etc. Bit greasier than home cooking but very tasty and real food. Items like sushi and falafel wraps are super convenient if you’re on the move. And the profits stay in KiwiLand.

    Why is this still a thing? Even if these mega chains followed this noisy outraged public pressure and treated their workers better, why would you vote for them with your dollars?

  5. trendy lefty 5

    I wrote to Burger King. The wrote back saying:

    “Thank you for your message. However, we need to clarify the one sided message that is being portrayed in the media. Burger King does not operate Zero Hour Contracts. We do not employ anyone on the basis of zero hours. It simply does not make any sense to go to the cost of recruiting and employing someone and then not having them work. We are currently in our bi annual negotiations with the Unite Union and cannot comment further.”

    I wonder if it’s true.

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