New Zealand McDonald's workers beat zero-hours contracts

Submitted by AWL on 29 April, 2015 - 1:46 Author: Unite (New Zealand)

Unite Union has reached an agreement with McDonald's over ending zero hour contracts and other issues in dispute with the company.

"This is a historic agreement" says Unite National Director Mike Treen. "Now all the of the major fast food chains have committed to ending zero hours. This is the culmination of a decade long campaign for secure hours by Unite Union. It will be welcomed tens of thousands of workers in the fast food industry and hundreds thousands more who will ultimately benefit in other industries. It represents a fundamental shift in the employment relationship of the most vulnerable workers in the country.

"At McDonald's 80 percent of hours worked over a three month period will be guaranteed. A survey on hours worked will be done every three months. This means the secure hours will be able to increase over time. The guarantee will begin from July 1. The company and union will review the application of this clause in March 2016. Both sides now accept that the clause will lead to greater security and regularity around rostered shifts.

"That means we are able to call off the planned strikes at McDonald's stores around the country.

"In some cases it will be too late to cancel the planned gatherings so we want supporters to have a victory celebration but not interfere with customer access.

"We haven't finalised all details in the agreement but we are convinced there is good will on both sides to work through the remaining issues without further protests being required.

"The company has agreed to work with the union on how the guarantee of 80% of hours worked will impact on the regularity and security of shifts in the future. There is also a ratification payment for union members only and a form for new staff at the head office owned McOpco stores to trial a system of indicating a desire to join the union. Franchise owners can also use the form. A working party will look at access protocols and the breaks regime.

"Unite wants to thanks the people of New Zealand for their support in this fight. We would not have been able to get this agreement on our own. McDonald's decision must mean the end of zero hour contracts elsewhere in New Zealand.

"Unite calls on the government to turn this decision into law for other workers in the country."

This was Unite's statement prior to the deal with McDonald's, when it planned a May Day strike:

The Unite union in New Zealand writes:

"McDonald's has walked out of bargaining with Unite Union today despite taking the first steps towards a meaningful offer around ending zero hour contracts.

"Unite National Director Mike Treen says the union was bewildered by the company action.

"We had welcomed their offer and wanted more information around how that might work with secure shifts for staff in the future. Other fast food companies like Restaurant Brands and Burger King have acknowledged that a secure hours regime will necessarily involve some form of secure shifts as well.

"We also wanted to continue bargaining around a few other claims that were important to the union including a special payment for members to allow the terms of the collective agreement to be passed on to non members of the union. We also wanted the right of staff to join the union when they join the company and the right of the union to to put up union information in stores without a company veto.

"These are basic rights we have at other fast food companies.

"Instead of negotiating meaningfully on these issues which we prepared to do they walked out.
Unite will conducting strike action by its members at McDonald's on May 1. We ask all fair minded Kiwis to show their support for these workers on that day which is also May Day or International Workers Day."

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