Restaurant Brands threatens employees to undermine union agreement and won’t answer question on use of wage subsidy – Unite Union


Having received nearly $22 million in taxpayer wage subsidies, Restaurant Brands Ltd has been threatening KFC, Pizza Hut and Carl’s Jr workers that they will not be able to return to work if they don’t sign away job security and won’t answer how  they are using the wage subsidy to cut pay as employees return to work.

They have threatened workers with re-structuring, redundancy and not being allowed return to work if they don’t sign the variation to their agreement. Store managers were asked to prepare rosters for the week that excluded those who have not signed, although RBL now appears to have backed down on that threat.

There is much general fear and concern in the community about jobs and RBL appears to be leveraging that to cut pay and conditions when there is no need to do so.

We told RBL their proposal was not acceptable but they sent it out to all our members individually regardless. We advised our members not to sign, because it is unfair, unnecessary and collective agreements cannot be varied this way.

Their proposal  (view here) contains a clause that would allow RBL to change any of the arrangements at its “discretion” for as long as “Covid19 business disruption” continues. Union members are not going to sign away hard won rights to job security, especially when there is no justification provided. The proposal also claims to be a re-structuring/redundancy proposal as well, which is extraordinary as it contains no details of what the actual re-structuring or redundancies are. In reality this was intended simply to intimidate workers into signing.

Unite counter-proposed a variation (view here)  that met all the specific issues RBL raised – workers could be recalled to shifts if they were being paid their contracted hours and could be assigned to nearby stores if their own stores couldn’t open. We also said we would put an agreed document to members to vote on before Tuesday – because that is the legal process for varying a union collective agreement.

This morning the CEO Arif Khan replied saying they were too busy to consider our proposal and they would get back to us in a few weeks. This itself is a clear breach of their good faith obligations under employment law.

They haven’t given any good reason why threatened re-structures or redundancies would be needed. RBL is not in any financial difficulty and have received nearly $22 million from taxpayers. Their share price has been steadily increasing because investors are picking that they will do very well as New Zealand comes out of lockdown (see ). Many of their competitors, especially smaller fast foods takeaway shops, will not be able to open under Level 3.

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There is also a huge unanswered question about their use of the wage subsidy. Many workers will actually end up with a substantial reduction in pay for returning to work .

RBL has been hiring many new workers with just two guaranteed shifts, but getting them to work many more week after week. Under lockdown they were paid the average of what they actually had been working, but now RBL wants them to return to work and only pay them their contracted hours – the two shifts. Many will get a 50% pay cut for going back to work. We know it is going to be a problem because over the 2018-19 New Year period they paid only contracted hours for a couple of weeks due to payroll processing problems. It caused chaos and extreme hardship in many cases.

McDonalds have made sure that no worker will get paid less after returning to work under Level 3 – that is what RBL should do as well.

The big question, however, is have RBL received full-time subsidy payments (20 hours a week or more) for workers who they are now planning to pay only part-time (less than 20 hours a week)? We have asked this very simple question repeatedly but they have not answered.

Why is that?


  1. Kinda explains why WINZ has been contacting Beneficiaries to see if theyre available to work in the fast food industry in the past week!

  2. A bloody disgrace. There ought to be someone or somewhere where the union can take this and get it sorted quick smart…

  3. “The big question, however, is have RBL received full-time subsidy payments (20 hours a week or more) for workers who they are now planning to pay only part-time (less than 20 hours a week)? We have asked this very simple question repeatedly but they have not answered.”

    Why is that?

    Probably the same reason many politicians, bloggers & journalists in this country don’t answer straight forward questions put to them!

  4. It will be sad to see the queues lining up to hoover down this rubbish food as soon as their sad lines of petrol addicted fast food junkies hit town in a frenzy of self imposed destruction.
    How do you break this cycle whereby the poor destroy their own self interest without education.
    That should be at the forefront of any argument about these wilfully destructive businesses that add nothing whatsoever to the public good.

  5. Does this mean that “restaurant manager” will no longer be on the essential skills list at Immigration New Zealand?

    • simonm +1, Shit No! Fast Food, cigarettes, meth/MDMA and liquor are essential services in NZ!

      NZ needs to be full of drugged out, lazy, people eking out a living or creating a social needs industry staffed by low waged workers, to bankrupt the state and allow more privatisation!

  6. Well that phrase ”YOUR’E FIRED” comes in handy here,.. any A- hole corporate who wants to pilfer tax monies from the people of NZ via the govt needs to be given an ultimatum if there is any suspicion of skulduggery after an audit as been made. Several govt officials to sit on their board and 40-50 % shares owned by the govt thus the taxpayers of NZ. If they don’t comply?- they get their marching orders.

    That’d fix em.

  7. Perhaps the unions should work out how they have become irrelevant in the 21c.

    AKA when they collaborate with big business, to import in more workers that the employer has zero obligations for going forward, and can just dump onto the state, vary hours, pay poorly all while picking up more unskilled workers from overseas as soon as they can to keep the ponzi going.

  8. This isnt just a normal day to day kinda breach of H&S. This is an affront to the Ministries Health Act. And deliberate! This is flipp’n the finger at the Princess! Fingering the Princess! Fuck the foreplay! straight to the nearest High Court and then Screw ’em! If they were a Maori organisation they government wouldn’t hesitate ay?

  9. It’s not so hard …Just kick Restaurant Brands out of the country…ban all cigarette sales ….jail tobacco growers and install the death penalty for methamphetamine dealers …Then research and develop programmes for developing Foundation Literacy ..There, not so hard was it ?

  10. Ban fast food companies like Restaurant Brands .from investing in NZ…Ban all cigarette sales, and re-educate smokers down in Waiouru..and other camps ..Publically hang meth dealers..and ramp up research into foundation literacy

  11. I totally would quit
    There are plenty of jobs available
    Growers are screaming out for pickers
    Supermarkets NEED YOU
    & Delivery Drivers are STRUGGLING to find staff! Come on people change jobs & change your lives

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