Restaurant Brand Workers strike

Written By: - Date published: 5:54 pm, April 21st, 2017 - 34 comments
Categories: health and safety, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

Restaurant Brands, the company that made $26 million last year and paid its chief executive a bonus of $1 million but cannot afford to pay its workers any more than the minimum wage, is facing industrial action tomorrow.

From Unite Union:

KFC, Pizza Hut, Carls Jr and Starbucks workers will strike tomorrow after negotiations broke down over a new collective agreement.

“Yesterday Restaurant Brands announced profits of $26 million and they have paid their CEO a million dollar bonus. Tomorrow the workers who actually make and sell their products have to go on strike to get a few cents above the minimum wage” said Unite National Secretary Gerard Hehir.

“This is a stark example of the growing gap between rich and poor and Unite Union members at Restaurant Brands are taking action to close the gap a little bit. While Restaurant Brands have been paying huge bonuses and dividends and buying up large overseas, their workers are overworked and underpaid”

Restaurant Brands has rejected a very modest proposal from the union for a rise of 10 cents and hour each year over three years above the minimum wage movement for the lowest paid workers. This will take to take their pay to 30 cents an hour above the minimum wage by 2019.

The union also wants Shift Supervisors, skilled and experienced staff who are able to run stores on their own, to get increases over three years that will move them towards a Living Wage.

“These are not school kids. They are qualified and experienced workers who can run a store on their own: managing staff, managing a retail store and a food production facility. They deserve a Living Wage and Restaurant Brands can afford to pay them a Living Wage”

Shift Supervisors do get an additional allowance if they are running a store sole charge but the company admits that the opportunities for these shifts has reduced recently. Restaurant Brands has also made it clear they expect Supervisors to do nearly all their management tasks on their basic pay, not just when they are paid the extra allowance.

KFC Supervisor are also expected to train KFC cooks and to be able to do the cooks job if needed. Last year the company decided (without consulting the union) to pay cooks and extra $2.50 an hour allowance and the result is that the Supervisors, who are mostly women, end up being paid $1.80 an hour less than the cooks, who are mostly male, despite Supervisors being more qualified and having far more responsibilities.

“Unite doesn’t begrudge KFC cooks getting a pay-rise – they deserve a Living Wage as well, but it has highlighted just how underpaid the Shift Supervisors are. We think the new pay equity processes may apply and we are gathering information to begin that process.”

Restaurant Brands has also refused to offer any redundancy payment for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Currently workers are entitled to one weeks notice only. Their have been redundancies at Restaurant Brands (KFC Kaikohe was permanently closed in 2015) and, as recent earthquakes in Wellington have shown, workers can very suddenly find themselves out of a job.

The OECD recently told the government that New Zealand employers need to take more responsibility when they lay off their workers. Restaurant Brands

“It is inconceivable that Restaurant Brands CEO Russel Creedy would lose his job with just a week’s notice – as high as his weekly pay is. Why do Restaurant Brands think it’s OK to sack their lowest paid workers with just one week’s notice.”

Unite has very recently reached agreement with McDonalds that gives those workers 30 cents above the minimum wage in the next three years as well as Shift Supervisors a Living Wage and a Redundancy payment.

Other issues in dispute with Restaurant Brands are requiring existing workers to be offered new or changed shifts that become available, overtime on allowances, specific break times and a commitment to elected Health and Safety reps.

Combined pickets will be held at the following locations from 12 noon on Saturday:

Auckland: KFC Balmoral, 511 Dominion Rd, 12pm

Rotorua: Rotorua KFC, 1289 Amohau St from 12pm

Palmerston North: KFC Rangitikei Street, 201 Rangitikei St, 12-2pm

Wellington: Kent Tce KFC – corner Kent Tce and Pirie St, Mt Victoria 12 pm.

Christchurch: KFC Hornby 418 Main South Road, 12-2pm

Dunedin : KFC Dunedin North, 714 Great King St, 12-2pm

Further details are in the picket filer available here.

34 comments on “Restaurant Brand Workers strike”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Radio New Zealand just covered the news. It was apparently a $1.5 million dollar bonus …

  2. Bought and Paid for 2

    i assumed that KFC was upstanding given how much unionists in Wellington promote KFC on Twitter – on a daily basis.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      Did you? What an idiotic assumption to make. My advice is get someone to vet your comments so that you don’t look so ridiculous in future.

  3. BM 3

    Restaurant brands is a crap company that sells probably the most unhealthy crappiest food possible.

    Take KFC, they no longer sell anything remotely healthy, it’s all fatty chicken cooked in fat with potato covered in fat + chips.
    Their meals are disgusting and I refuse to buy their shit

    What gets me though is the way left wingers blag McD’s all the time for unhealthy food, which it really isn’t, yet don’t say a word about KFC.

    I don’t understand why KFC gets a free pass,?

    • Left wing , right wing , … doesn’t matter what you want to call it. NO ONE in this country should be working for below the costs of living and NO CEO should be paid excessively beyond their worth. This is not the third world and it is not a banana republic.

      Its time these freeloading company’s started paying their dues and stop holding out their hands and bludging for a freebie – because thats what wages have become in this country – just an embedded , legislated in , mechanism for ripping off other people. Honest people would call it theft.

      Its time the 33 year old criminal legacy of Roger Douglas is overturned and we all start to get some honesty and integrity again and call this sort of bullshit out for what it is :

      Theft.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Take KFC, they no longer sell anything remotely healthy, it’s all fatty chicken cooked in fat with potato covered in fat + chips.

      Well, if you’re on a no carb diet then their meals are pretty much health food.

      What gets me though is the way left wingers blag McD’s all the time for unhealthy food

      [citation needed]

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    1,000,000 / 52 = 19,230.77
    19,230 / 40 = 480.77

    Restaurant Brands hires ~6000 staff across Aus/NZ. Australia has ~ 5 times as many people as NZ so we can assume that RB employs 1/5 of 6000 people in NZ or ~ 1200 people.

    48077 / 1200 = 40.06 cents per hour that that one million dollar bonus to the CEO could have increased the workers pay.

    And it’s those workers that actually produced that $1 million.

    And no single person is actually worth $1 million per year never mind a bonus of $1 million. A person simply cannot produce that amount of wealth by themselves.

    • gsays 4.1

      Hey draco, great maths.

      But, you know, we need to pay the CEO that much because, ..umm, you see, global market.., err..what was the question again?

      management need workers,
      workers don’t need management.

      • jcuknz 4.1.1

        I was asked the question years ago and replied ‘The Boss’ but today with more experience I say equal . both need the other.
        But a million bonus when workers only get a weeks pay when dispensed with is a completely different matter.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.2

      Agree, although is the CEO covering Australia and NZ (in which case the bonus needs to go across workers in both countries)? But you can also reduce the profit – there is plenty of scope to increase wages there.

      I am a fan of the concept of no dividends/profit being payable until all staff are on the living wage or better.

    • The New Student 4.3

      +lots

      Far out, that guy gets my annual salary in a week!

      Granted I only work part-time. In which case he gets my FTE annual salary in two weeks!

  5. mickysavage 5

    And there are reports that Carl Jr’s in Christchurch locked its staff in, as opposed to locking them out. Unbelievable …

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11843350

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Nah … piss weak. He should’ve gotten a few local farmer boys on their horses to smack striking scum about with batons.

      (Or to put it another way; not so unbelievable in the light of some of our history.)

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2

      Stockholm syndrome.

  6. Ad 6

    When are they going to do the decent thing and replace these appalling service jobs with robots?

    There’s no dignity in this kind of work.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      +1

      Government should be spending millions per year on R&D on it as well. The pay off would be massive in terms of productivity increases.

    • mickysavage 6.2

      The problem is that there will not be many jobs left. How do we share the love around rather than paying chief executives $1.5 mil bonuses for basically turning up to work?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1

        Love? Say it with pitchforks.

      • Ad 6.2.2

        There have been several great disruptions to kinds of jobs over the last two centuries, but oddly people enough people still need stuff done.

        As to your question, I would want a future government to repeal the Employment Contracts Act, and enact a replacement that greatly enables collective bargaining.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.2.2.1

          “As to your question, I would want a future government to repeal the Employment Contracts Act, and enact a replacement that greatly enables collective bargaining.”

          Completely agree!! We need a shift in the negotiating power.

    • greywarshark 6.3

      Ad
      You don’t give it dignity because you are class conscious. But the people doing it know it is work, it is real, it is good work making useful stuff that people want, and they are getting paid for it.

      And they want to get a living wage, that is not undignified either. Your plaint about it not having dignity puts you firmly in the 20th century reality as carried forward to the 21st C. by Disney where everyone is a prince or princess.

      [Hey GWS I don’t know why but the machine keeps putting your comments into pending, something to do with an apostrophe or your email address changing. I and others clear them as quickly as we can – MS]

      • RedLogix 6.3.1

        +1

        As an automation engineer myself, I’m firmly of the belief that not all work can or should be automated. The reason I say this is that in my experience most work is a subtle blend of science and art; of skills and intuition.

        Now you might argue this scarcely applies to burger flipping at Maccas. No-one goes there for the service. But now imagine bowling up to such a joint where the entire operation had been automated. No staff at all; essentially a glorified vending machine.

        It wouldn’t work for me. Nor does it necessarily work for the owners; note carefully how they’ve made a big investment in adding value, adding service and moving out of the low-margin fast food business with the McCafe model.

        • Ad 6.3.1.1

          Agree with that.
          It’s the low-skill low-hope low-trajectory jobs that need to go.
          And getting rid of them also gets rid of crap immigration as well.

          • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.3.1.1.1

            Not all jobs need to be high skilled and on a pathway to the top. For the foreseeable future there will always be basic jobs that need doing by people. These should be paid properly so the people doing them can have decent lives while doing the jobs indefinitely if they need (not just short term from desperation, because the jobs are completely unsustainable for actual living).

            If McDonalds etc products cost a little more and the owners made a little less return – it might still be a perfectly sound business model, while treating their workers properly.

        • greywarshark 6.3.1.2

          RedLogix
          Though you are applying your mind to the problem of robotisation, it still is only the utilitarian part. There is a severe and deep problem about displacing work in a world where human rights and such are being over-ridden by the quest for efficiency and speed rather than wellbeing for people.

          The question has become existential. If people are not going to be given a place of respect and acceptance in society if they don’t work, how are they to feel and be, where is their feeling of being a citizen, independent and capable going to come from? How are they going to fill their time? The old saying that the devil makes work for idle hands wasn’t an idle observation.

          I don’t hear understanding of the problem from DTB, Ad or yourself. We have to ask ourselves philosophical questions if we are going through another period of change. We have suffered the shock of mass, scientific killing with the death chambers of the Holocaust and the vile chemicals churned out by the ton to do so. Still we haven’t incorporated this and other shocking experiences in an understanding of how low we can go. We need to be doing philosophy at school, as it is at the base of our lives.

          Wikipedia gives:
          Existentialism
          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          “Existential” redirects here. For the logical sense of the term, see Existential quantification. For other uses, see Existence (disambiguation).
          Not to be confused with Essentialism.
          Clockwise from top left: Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Sartre, Nietzsche

          Existentialism (/ɛɡzɪˈstɛnʃəlɪzəm/)[1] is a term applied to the work of certain late-19th- and 20th-century European philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences,[2][3][4] shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual.[5]

          While the predominant value of existentialist thought is commonly acknowledged to be freedom, its primary virtue is authenticity.*[6] In the view of the existentialist, the individual’s starting point is characterized by what has been called “the existential attitude”, or a sense of disorientation, confusion, or dread in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.[7] Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience.[8][9]

          Søren Kierkegaard is generally considered to have been the first existentialist philosopher,[2][10][11] though he did not use the term existentialism.[12] He proposed that each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely, or “authentically”.[13][14]

          Existentialism became popular in the years following World War II, and strongly influenced many disciplines besides philosophy, including theology, drama, art, literature, and psychology.[15]

          * authenticity: meaning from google – synonyms:
          synonyms: genuineness, originality; rightfulness, legitimacy, legality, validity, bona fides “the authenticity of the painting” ;
          reliability, dependability, trustworthiness, truth, veracity, verity, faithfulness, fidelity, authoritativeness, credibility; accuracy, factualness

          NB As we have at present a raging debate about the lack of truthfulness, accuracy, factualness in the media and around us in general, then the very basis of our lives seems to be up for grabs. We are in an existential crisis.

      • Ad 6.3.2

        So here’s my reality. Whatever century you like.

        Apple picking should be mechanized. In some farms a reality already.

        Grape picking should be mechanized. Same.

        Cow milking should be mechanized. Same.

        Fast food chains like McDonalds and Carl’s Junior and Domino’s should be mechanized.

        All those businesses are not completely mechanized in this country already because we are a cheap-ass low-R&D union-weak poorly regulated scummy bunch of employers who can’t get off our asses and invest in the plant and machinery to take crap jobs out of all our lives.

        No objection to people buying as much fast food as they want – their choice.
        But here will be plenty of far more useful and better paid things that they could do.

        I’ll buy them a hammer myself.

        • RedLogix 6.3.2.1

          Working with milk, apples, grapes and the like can be readily automated. It’s what I do for a living. But working with people strikes me as qualitatively different; not nearly so amenable.

          • Ad 6.3.2.1.1

            Agree. But I am not at a fast food restaurant to interact with the counter staff.

            What of a McDonald’s operation could not be mechanized?

            Once all food service – including the unnecessary counter staff – is mechanized there, the next question is the same question that US malls now have to ask:

            What can we provide here to make coming here an exciting and memorable experience?

      • greywarshark 6.3.3

        Thanks MS I have done a cookie clearance, but not aware of changes. Will ask my advisor what he can see looking up this and that.

  7. ed 7

    I know Trump is a dirty word, but listen to what he’s saying for a moment.

    “My Fellow Americans,

    A new optimism is sweeping our country as we return power from Washington and give it back to the American People, where it belongs.

    For too long, American workers were forgotten by their government – and I mean totally forgotten. Their interests were pushed aside for global projects, and their wealth was taken from their communities and shipped across the world, all across the seas.

    My Administration has offered a new vision. The well-being of the American citizen and worker will be placed second to none – and boy do I mean second to none.

    Since Day One I have been fighting for the hardworking people of this country – and this week we took historic action to continue delivering on that promise.

    We did so in one of the many proud industrial towns of our nation – Kenosha, Wisconsin – with the men and women of Snap-On, who make American tools for workers around the world. They were there, and they loved what they heard, and they loved what they saw.

    In Wisconsin, I signed an Executive Order to Buy American and Hire American. I took historic action to ensure that Federal Projects are made with American Goods – and to keep American workers and companies from being cheated out of contracts by countries that break the rules and break every regulation in the book to take advantage of the United States. That’s not going to happen anymore.

    I also took action to reform our immigration system so that it puts the needs of American workers first – the duty of government is to represent the citizens of the United States, and that is what we will do.
    Whether it’s removing job-killing regulations, protecting our borders, or unleashing American energy, we are keeping our promises and delivering for the American Worker.

    During my visit, I talked about how America is a nation that honors work. We honor grit. We honor craftsmanship. We honor the skilled tradespeople who turn rock and steel and iron and cement into works of art and grace and beauty. There’s tremendous talent there, believe me.

    The wrench and ratchet are not only tools, but instruments that help build cities out of deserts and send ships across oceans. And the tools of craftsmen and the masons are just as important as the tools of the doctor and the dentist or the CEO, or even the tools of politicians, believe it or not – and their work is every bit as noble. They take pride in their jobs, and we take pride in them.

    No longer will the concerns of these hardworking Americans go unanswered.

    By making government answer to our citizens, we are removing the limits on our future and setting free the dreams of our people.

    As long as we do this, optimism will continue to soar. Hope will continue to spring. And this country we love will grow stronger and stronger day by day.

    Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless America.”

    Can you see why the Corporate Media hate him now.

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