Unite claims $2.5m “Stolen Wages, Stolen Breaks” against McDonald’s

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Source: Unite Union – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Unite claims $2.5m “Stolen Wages, Stolen Breaks” against McDonald’s

Unite are submitting an employment authority case against McDonald’s today for unpaid breaks that the union estimates has resulted in unpaid wages of $2.5 million.

“We have wage and time records from two stores (one a McCopco store and one a franchisee) for the last four months that confirm a consistent pattern of not paying for lost lunch breaks – as they are required to do under the collective agreement,” said Unite National Director Mike Treen.

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“The company has done everything possible to stop us exposing their theft. They have refused to supply the wage and time records and are demanding we get every member to sign a new form authorising release of information to the union. But this stalling tactic won’t save them. We have been able to get enough information from members to prove our case despite the company’s refusal to supply the records officially.

“The law stipulates that workers who work a 4-6 hour shift must receive an unpaid 30 minute break. The collective agreement stipulates that if they miss the break they must be paid the 30 minutes. McDonald’s has simply ignored the law and the contract. They also ignore the requirement for proper scheduling of breaks with the worker’s agreement. members complain that when they do get a scheduled meal break it will be only an hour after they have started work.

“This case is a warning against weakening the breaks law which the government is planning to do. If a major company like McDonald’s can routinely ignore the law what have workers got at small companies.

“We have done a calculation for the two stores and we estimate the unpaid breaks for all staff to be $2700 for each store for the four months. Multiply that by 6 to cover the two-year collective agreement, and again by 160 to cover every store in the country – and the total owed is $2.5 million.

Unite members at McDonald’s have also voted 85% in favour of continuing action for a new collective agreement in what may be the first secret ballot under the new law.

“Our back pay claim and a proper breaks scheduling at McDonald’s will be part of our claims.

“We will be demanding every penny back one way or another,” said Mr Treen.

We will be bringing the 6m high Rat out today at the 1pm outside the Greenlane store and head office for the first time in the campaign to highlight what we think of the company’s conduct.