Employees must be offered additional work before new staff are hired – Unite

By   /   November 7, 2017  /   2 Comments

In a determination of the Employment Relations Authority released yesterday, it was held that Wendy’s was required to offer Rosemary Williams additional hours of work before it hired new staff. It had failed to do so over a 3-month period which disadvantaged Ms Williams and Wendy’s was ordered to pay over $3000 in compensation.

The Wendy’s store in Hornby, Christchurch suffered a downturn in business last year due to a competitor opening nearby. All the staff in the store had their hours reduced. As staff left their jobs at the store, Wendy’s hired new workers to replace them.

But Unite Union, who represented Ms Williams, argued that the remaining staff should have been offered more work to increase their hours to their previous level.

“It is standard in most of our collective agreements that workers have the opportunity to pick up additional hours before a company hires new staff” says John Crocker, Industrial Officer at Unite.

“Wendy’s was required to offer Ms Williams more hours and failed to do so. The determination is very clear on that. While this case was contractual, we believe it should be standard practice for all employers in New Zealand.

“Hours are worker’s livelihood, and the ability to keep those hours down is power over those workers.

“While the compensation to Ms Williams was modest, the principle that the union will enforce its employment contract, particularly on this issue, was vital and we hope it sends a message to the broader industry.”

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About the author

Mike Treen

National Director of Unite Union

2 Comments

  1. Tiger Mountain says:

    well done UNITE

    this should become an NZ wide campaign, some employers bring in agency or temp workers too to try and union bust

  2. savenz says:

    Completely fair outcome and should be standard practise. How are people supposed to survive if their income is at the whims of market conditions and employers who want to decrease hours at a moments notice and then subsequently hire new people. Right decision.