UPDATED: Burger King and Unite Union have come to an agreement over banning zero hour contracts, just in the nick of time. Strikes will go ahead this afternoon outside McDonald’s branches in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Palmerston North.
McDonald’s had presented an offer to Unite Union at a collective bargaining meeting recently, a McDonald’s spokesperson announced yesterday.
The offer guaranteed all McDonald’s employees 80 percent security of hours up to a 40 hour cap, based on the average of the previous 12 weeks.
However, Unite has rejected the offer. Treen says workers need a guarantee of hours based on the hours a worker usually works, not what they are rostered.
“This is a meaningless formula,” Treen says. “Rostered hours are a long way from hours worked, which is the formula we have used at Restaurant Brands.”
A previous strike against McDonald’s in 2013. Source: Unite
McDonald’s released a statement responding to Unite’s comments last night and said it’s committed to reaching an agreement with the union:
“McDonald’s is committed to reaching an agreement with Unite on security of hours, and today we have moved to address this and do away with what have been labelled ‘zero hours contracts.’”
Unite’s public statements today are a distraction to our new position around security of hours; we are not surprised they have found fault with our offer and still intend to strike on Wednesday, given they already had plans in place to do so.”
Palmerston North Labour MP Ian-Lees-Galloway asked McDonald’s on Twitter if it had actually abandoned zero hour contracts.
McDonald’s tweeted there was “no spin,” it was just offering security of hours.
Workplace relations and safety minister Michael Woodhouse said to the NZ Herald today the harshest aspects of the contracts will be banned.
However, he was reluctant to say zero hour contracts will be banned completely.
Labour leader Andrew Little says the minister is “dithering” and needs to outlaw the practices.
“There is no need for zero hour contracts and the recent abolition of their use by fast food conglomerate Restaurant Brands has proved that,” Little says.
“Too many Kiwi workers in retail, hospitality, cleaning and caregiving remain on these contracts.”
Treen says the problem with rostered hours is the company controls them.
McDonald’s can decide whether employees’ hours fluctuate up or down, he says, and employees can be subject to abuse of hours.
He says scenarios that can happen with rostered hours is companies roster people for fewer hours than they need and keep the workers hungry for hours.
The unreliable hours also keep workers at home waiting for a phone call for an extra shift, he says.
Strikes and protests will go ahead at McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s franchises tomorrow as part of an international fast food workers day of action.
The protests are taking place at Britomart in Auckland, Manners Mall in Wellington, the corner of Linwood Ave and Buckleys Rd in Christchurch, Rangitikiei St in Palmerston North and the Anderson’s Bay McDonald’s Branch in Dunedin.
Unite remains in dispute with the three companies.