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Restaurant Brands to end zero hour contracts

Written By: - Date published: 8:36 am, April 9th, 2015 - 15 comments
Categories: class war, jobs, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , , , ,

Unite union

Congratulations to Unite Union and especially Mike Treen and Joe Carolan for winning this particular battle and congratulations also to Restaurant Brands for realising that their workers are human beings with legitimate expectations and needs and not cogs to be fitted in and out of jobs as management determines. And if you want another example why strong democratic unions are good for all of us this is is.  But the battle continues as McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s have not agreed to similar changes in their contracts.

From the Unite website:

Restaurant Brands which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr and Starbucks chains has committed to end zero hour contracts by July this year in a new collective agreement negotiated with Unite Union.

Unite has 2000 members at the chain and is recommending the new terms to members in a vote to be held over the next week or so.

The Unite bargaining team was unanimous in its support for the proposal which promises staff at least 80% of the average hours will be guaranteed using a three month rolling average of hours worked up to a maximum of 32 hours a week.

“This is a gigantic step forward for workers in the fast food industry” says Unite National Director Mike Treen.

Unfortunately McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are still refusing to move meaningfully on the issue.

Union members at all three chains have now voted in support of an industrial and public campaign to try and convince these companies that they have to end zero hour contracts also.

Unite is appealing for members of the public to help them in this campaign.

“It is time for New Zealanders to tell these profitable multi-national chains that they need to stop taking advantage of their often young and vulnerable workers and put an end to a labour practice that the people of New Zealand have made clear they find unacceptable.

“Tomorrow we are asking people to go to our website at www.unite.org.nz and sign a letter that will be forwarded to the three holdouts. They may think they can ignore their own workers but they won’t be able to ignore tens of thousands of fair minded Kiwis who need to tell them to end zero hour contracts now. If Restaurant Brands can do it so can McDonald’s, BK and Wendy’s.”

I will put up a reminder tomorrow to sign Unite’s letter.

15 comments on “Restaurant Brands to end zero hour contracts ”

  1. vto 1

    Perhaps the zero hours gets reversed and employees get full weeks pay but only turn up when they want

  2. Skinny 3

    Take a bow Mike Treen, Joe C & Co an outstanding result for these lowly paid workers. Unite is a great Union full of passionate hard working activists.

  3. Rosie 4

    “And if you want another example why strong democratic unions are good for all of us this is is. ”

    +1 Mickey.

    This is an excellent result, following closely behind the win for Cotton On workers. It’s testimony to what you can achieve when you organise. Hopefully these positive outcomes for workers will encourage others who are considering joining a Union, to make the leap and do it. The more people in Unions, the stronger our workforce becomes.

    Big ups to the members for hanging on in there, to the Unite negotiators, and to Restaurant Brands for working together to put an end to zero hours contracts. Good on Campbell Live for staying on the case too and shining a light on the realities of living on a zero hour contract.

    No thanks to Michael Woodhouse who can’t understand the difference between zero hour contracts and casual contracts and couldn’t care less anyway. No thanks to the Key regime who turned a blind eye to workers affected by zero hour contracts.

  4. Brendan 6

    “We’ll march day and night by the big cooling tower.
    They have the plant but we have the power.”

  5. The Real Matthew 7

    “The Unite bargaining team was unanimous in its support for the proposal which promises staff at least 80% of the average hours will be guaranteed using a three month rolling average of hours worked up to a maximum of 32 hours a week.”

    Can someone explain to me what this actually means for workers?

    • Jeeves 7.1

      What it means for my son is that he is no longer “on call’ from 6am to 9pm Monday to Sunday inclusive, with absolutely no legal guarantee that he will get any work.

      Although in fairness, his employers gave him upwards of 50 hours a week (and the accumulative wages were great for a young lad)- there was no process whatsoever for taking any leave- so if he wanted to go away for a weekend- they could simply say no- “just in case” they needed him. Likewise if he insisted that he needed time off- they could just refuse to rehire him when he came back.

      Its not so much about bad employers (although it can be) as much as about untrained managers who lack the planning and people skills to effectively run a factory floor and invest in their team.

      And now what this can mean for some zero-hour workers is that if you regularly work 30 hours a week then you are now effectively a permanent employee guaranteed at least 24 hours a week.

      It has actually shown up a lot of employers as being a bit useless when it comes to staff management- “I can’t run my business unless I have an endless stream of low paid workers on call 24/7 who I can use and then jettison, because really I don’t know my own business well enough to do it right”…

      • Rosie 7.1.1

        “It has actually shown up a lot of employers as being a bit useless when it comes to staff management- “I can’t run my business unless I have an endless stream of low paid workers on call 24/7 who I can use and then jettison, because really I don’t know my own business well enough to do it right”…”

        Exactly Jeeves.

        I saw this happen in my last retail job. I was able to get the employer to commit to x number of hours per week but it took some work doing it. In all my working life which includes managing staff and overseeing rosters I had never come across anyone so unable to plan and roster accordingly and in general so unsuited to running a business.

        Poor regulations allow such incompetence to thrive.

        Zero hour contracts create a perfect unison between empowering incompetent managers and providing an opportunity for them to exploit.

  6. Hayden 8

    When I worked at KFC in the 1990s they knew*, down to the unit, how many chicken pieces, fillets, buns etc. to prepare for any given hour of the week. They also knew, by a process of extrapolation, how many people it would take to cook and serve that food. Either they’ve somehow lost that ability or they’ve just become lazy and have taken advantage of the ability to have an on-call work force in the name of “flexibility”, thereby avoiding the risk of over-staffing (by shifting that risk to their employees).

    * they didn’t always get it right, and as Tegel didn’t deliver on the weekend the lucky Sunday night staff would occasionally get to explain to customers that yes, KFC was actually out of chicken.

    • Jeeves 8.1

      Yep I accept that- the employer I was referring to was not in the fast-food highly automated area, but was in fast manufactured goods…

      • Hayden 8.1.1

        Right, but in the context of Restaurant Brands, there was no need for zero-hour contracts 20 years ago, is what I was trying to get across 😉

  7. Sable 9

    We should not have zero hour contracts to start with. Once again our useless government acting against the wishes of the people it claims to represent.

  8. Sirenia 10

    Looks like Campbell Live is going to be punished for its campaigning journalism.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/67670289/campbell-live-to-be-reviewed

  9. Jeeves 11

    “Zero hour contracts create a perfect unison between empowering incompetent managers and providing an opportunity for them to exploit.”

    I think even employers are realising this now.
    But remember folks!
    These are the people who know better- the job-makers- the leaders of industry- the talented- the self starters. The people National told us we need to let cut through the red tape.
    In the land of the blind, and all that.

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