Unite Union claims first victory in anti-zero-hours campaign


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Unite Union is pleased to announce that Restaurant Brands has accepted the need to end zero hour contracts in the brands they own in New Zealand – KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr and Starbuck’s.

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 guarantee of 32 hours a week.

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.

This is a gigantic step forward for workers in the fast food industry. Fast food workers have been struggling to end zero hour contracts in the industry for over a decade.

Worker are sick of having no guaranteed hours. They are sick being having to be available for work while the company has no obligation to offer work. Many workers need secure hours to manage the relationship with working for families and WINZ.

Workers are also fed up with managers using rosters to reward their mates and punish others with no proper process. Cutting hours becomes the first choice as a weapon to discipline and punish staff and stop workers asserting their rights.

Restaurant Brands has proved that ending zero hours can be done. There is no excuse for the other companies not to follow suit.

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Unite Union members at McDonald’s, BK and Wendy’s have voted to take action to make their employers listen but they need support. These are courageous workers in very vulnerable situations because of zero hours. They need your support.

Workers in these companies can’t do it on their own. Two years ago we had a dispute with McDonald’s over the renewal of the collective agreement and franchisees and managers cut the hours of workers who took action. That is another reality workers on zero hours contracts face. Franchisee owners treat joining the union like it is a personal betrayal and evidence of disloyalty.
McDonald’s has boasted to the media that we represent only 12% of their workforce. It is a fact that we have “only” 1100 members at McDonald’s. It is an extraordinary challenge for any union to recruit in an environment of deep anti-union bias – especially from the franchise owners. 12 percent is actually very good internationally and we are happy to fight the fast food Goliath as best we can but to win we need the support of the public.

While McDonald’s may think they can ignore their own workers 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.

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.

We are asking people to go to our website and send a message to the companies to tell them to give workers a fair deal and end zero hour contracts now.

We are also kicking off the international day of action on Wednesday, April 15 by fast workers in defense of their basic rights to a decent wage, secure hours and a union. Fast food workers are striking in hundreds of cities on April 15. They will be joined by more than 60,000 people across the US and in 35 countries around the world.

Auckland: Assemble outside Brittomart 12 noon, Wednesday, April 15.
Wellington: 1pm, Manners Mall
Christchurch: 6pm, McDonald’s Cnr Linwood Ave and Buckleys Rd.
Palmerston North: 12 noon Rangitikei St,



Changes to zero-hour contracts on the way

Unite claims victory – Restaurant Brands to end zero hour contracts!

Union members win fight over zero hour contacts | Scoop News

KFC to scrap zero hour contracts – but what about fast food rivals?

Restaurant Brands says no to zero hour contracts

Restaurant Brands scrap zero hours contracts

Unite Union: Restaurant Brands to end zero hour contracts | Business | 3 News:

Fast Food Firm calls time on zero hours

Zero hours agreement hailed by Restaurant Brands

Unite targets other chains with zero-hour contracts

McDonald’s employee: Zero hour contracts used as ‘bullying tool’


  1. Very good news even though I myself have never ingested anything out of the named business establishments.

  2. It is interesting that Restaurant Brands execs implied that they never really liked using zero contracts in the first place. That raises an interesting question: if they were uneasy about it, who was putting the pressure on them to do it? I wonder………

  3. Yes…the secret of dismantling the divide and conquer techniques of the neo liberal ideology is to work as a team.

    It cannot exert its pernicious will over people who act in unison.

    This has been their modus operandi ever since it was introduced by Douglas.

    There are ways to defeat it but it takes a concerted , unified and coordinated front.

  4. I am travelling to Auckland tommorrow and I thought we could call into McDonalds for a treat as we don’t have one locally. I have just changed my mind. Boycott, hit them in the wallet because it’s the only thing that works.

  5. I am depressed that this is called an “achievement”, where do I live, on Planet Key in hell, I suppose.

    Zero hours should be banned, made illegal, full stop, and guaranteed minimum hours should be given to staff as a rule, or NO contract, full stop.

    We have already a precarious work environment for too many, we need more employment and job security, rights and these enforced.

    I remember past achievements that UNITE announced, and once the ink on the contract had dried, the employers looked at new loopholes to exploit and undermine what had been agreed.

    So I am waiting for the same to happen here. They will simply sack staff that may want decent working conditions, offer the rest secure hours, but they will still be working minimum hours at low pay rates and live on the margin of society.

    This is not as great an achievement as it seems, not on social terms for the whole of society. More is needed, much, much more, more fighting and standing up for rights and principles.

    Best wishes!

  6. My message via the Unite site got this automatic reply from Wendy’s:

    Wendy’s is a New Zealand family owned business and has taken the lead on many employment issues over the years including never paying youth rates.  Wendy’s does not use zero hour contracts and this was confirmed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to Unite Union and Wendy’s at our recent mediation.
    Wendy’s Hamburgers

    To which I responded:

    I made no mention of zero hour contracts in my message. Furthermore, I
    do not know how your company chooses to define; “zero hour contracts”.
    I am more inclined to believe the Unite union than MBIE, as they
    actually have day to day contact with the workers in the industry. But
    if you find the terminology problematic, let me ask instead:

    When will you guarantee working hours to your staff in a manner
    similar to that of Restaurant Brands? To reiterate from my previous

    “Neither I, nor my family, will be spending any money at your
    establishments until you demonstrate that you understand this.”

    Though I won’t be surprised if this just leads to another identical automatic reply from the Wendy’s PR section.

    On a happier note – good on; Hell’s Pizza, for seeing which way the wind is blowing:

    The recent focus on zero-hour employment contracts has lead Hell to review and revise its policy regarding the practice. From today, employees of all 65 Hell Pizza franchises are guaranteed fixed weekly hours, which will be reflected in new employment contracts by June 1 2015.


  7. Congratulations! An erosion of this travesty is welcome.
    I think that such terms of employment have a place BUT ONLY if they pay a substantive premium over any rates for similar work and have no WINZ or “constraint of other work options” implications.

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