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JOIN THE CAMPAIGN FOR A LIVING WAGE KFC workers with disabilities targeted

A group of long-serving KFC workers are being Jared’s family believes he was never given a chance to forced out of their jobs during a restructure show he could do the tasks. which is deliberately targeting workers with Douglas McRae loved his years at Park Ave KFC in disabilities. Wellington. The 49-year-old, who has an intellectual Disabled workers have been let go in the past year disability, worked two hours a day packing the because of a KFC policy for all staff to be capable of potato and gravy and cleaning. Douglas lost his job when the Park Ave store all duties. The first case merged with another appeared when two Hutt at a new site in Lower Valley stores merged last Hutt. He believes the September – resulting in only other person two disabled workers being affected was another made redundant. worker with a disability Stores in the Hutt, from the other merging Greymouth, Motueka, store. Oamaru, Papanui in “He wasn’t very happy Christchurch, and too. That was not fair Alexandra in central Douglas McRae at all,” he said. “I loved Otago have been similarly my job, I was supporting my wife and I was thinking, reorganised. Jared Dixon, who has autism, was restructured out ‘What am I going to do now?’ I miss all my friends.” of his job at KFC in Greymouth after working there Unite has written to the Human Rights Commission for 16 years doing three hours a week – making the asking them to advise and assist the workers. Greens local newspaper in 2006 when the company presented MP Mojo Mathers and Labour’s Jacinda Adern have him with a long-service award for 10 years on the job. both publicly called for the policy to be reviewed.

new employment laws will cut Kiwis’ pay The Government is making big changes to our employment laws that are designed to cut our pay and remove some of our most basic rights at work. The new laws will give bosses the power to refuse to settle a collective agreement, deny us meal and rest breaks and pay new workers less than the rate in the collective agreement. And that’s just the start. We all know wages in New Zealand are far too low.

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Many of us are finding it harder to pay for basics like power and food, and the Kiwi dream of home ownership is fast slipping away. This law will only make things harder. Unite organisers have been getting members along to the various stopwork rallies around New Zealand and Unite’s National Director, Mike Treen , made a submission on the proposal to remove legal entitlement for breaks. The new law simply says that breaks should be “reasonable” and compensation for missed breaks can be agreed. Unite’s submission detailed the struggle the union has had just to get the entitled breaks under the existing law. While significant progress has been made in collective agreements about breaks, watering down the law will make them harder to enforce. For more info see:



September 2013 Unite News for members and supporters.


mcDonalds agreement protects hours

NORTHLAND Gary Cranston Phone/text: 029 455 5979 AUCKLAND Phone (09) 845 2132 or 0800 2 UNITE (0800 286 483) 6A Western Springs Road Kingsland, Auckland

After four months of action by members and supporters a new collective agreement with McDonalds has been negotiated and ratified by members. It is a significant step forward in getting improved security of hours for the company’s 9500 employees.

WAIKATO Angelyse Armstrong Phone/text: 022 077 0881 EAST COAST, BAY OF PLENTY & LOWER NORTH ISLAND Bonita Moyes Phone/text: 029 445 4959

Fairer rosters

WELLINGTON/WAIRARAPA/TARANAKI Heleyni Pratley Phone/text: 029 494 9865

Union member only payment

SOUTH ISLAND Sharna Butcher Phone/text: 021 560 127

Contact Unite website: National Office phone: 0800 286 483 fax: 09 846 9509 email: postal address: PO Box 7175, Wellesley St Auckland 1141 SEPTEMBER 2013 UNITE NEWS

The new fairer rostering clause Loyal McStriker Taylor Mcloon (centre) receives her is the most important change official recognition from Unite Organiser Joe Carolan (left) in the agreement and applies and Unite National Director Mike Treen to all members. The power to members and the union to records and the roster someone or not is the most important weapon ability to ‘escalate’ an issue if it isn’t resolved infor controlling and disciplining the workforce. store. McDonalds has also committed to stronger The new clause affirms the importance of “rostering education on and enforcement of the agreed clause. employees fairly and reasonably”. This includes notifying and offering additional hours to current employees first and making any cuts in hours fair and evenly applied. There is clear process for dealing with disputes over rosters and hours, including access for All union members who joined before April 29 (when negotiations broke down) will receive a special payment when this agreement is ratified. Non-union staff do not receive this payment. The amount depends on the average hours worked in the previous 8 weeks. Union members who work over 30 hours on average get $200 KNOW YOU RIGHTS: (gross). Union members who work 21-30 hours on SOCIAL MEDIA & YOUR JOB average get $125 (gross). Union members who work 20 hours or less on average get $100 (gross).





Improved breaks clause An important part of the new agreement is ensuring that the current legal obligations to provide breaks (which is being repealed by the government) is maintained. The company had also wanted to go back to a 10-minute continued on page 2

Taxpayers foot bill for corporates There’s a blind spot with John Key when it comes to giving taxpayers’ cash to corporate monopolies. The “trickle-down” ideology once espoused by the far right - that if we made the wealthy even richer their good fortune would trickle down to the masses - has been thoroughly discredited. But the Prime Minister has taken this nonsense to a new level - Key now trickles money upwards from the poor to the rich. It’s unnerving that under Key there is a growing list of wealthy monopolies padding their profit margins, with this Government writing out cheques or passing favourable laws for them... Matt McCarten is Unite National Secretary and has a column in the Herald on Sunday. Read more at


Unite has had to represent a number of managers at fast food companies over recent months that have ended up in dismissals for “crimes” where the manager has thought they were helping the company. These have involved: •• Doing banking alone because the store is busy •• Allowing a worker to clock in under another name to avoid the limit on student hours •• Not dumping stock beyond its useby date It is simply stupid to cut corners or bend rules to help the company. You can’t be disciplined for doing your job according to the rules. Disciplinaries for not meeting targets are very rare and difficult to prove. continued on page 3




KFC HOURs Pressure We have had a number of complaints about how KFC is managing the labour hours in stores. It seems there has been a company-wide push to reduce hours allocated to stores with minimal regard to reality in many cases. We have been told by a number of managers that their labour hours have to be reduced by 50 or more hours a store. In some case they have had a few hours given back to them when it just proved impossible. Staff in one store were told they had to cut hundreds of hours cut from the store. A number of crew have had hours cut dramatically including shift supervisors with 15-20 years experience. At the same time the new manager is hiring staff. At Lincoln Rd in West Auckland the staff were so upset they all walked off a shift and the store was forced to close. Hours have been restored to the crew members most affected by cuts but we have a bunch of grievances being prepared over everything from

lost hours, bullying, and anti-union statements from management. Whenever there is short staffing then inevitably it becomes difficult to get breaks properly as well. Unite can’t stop companies making stupid or unrealistic decisions around the hours they allocate to stores. But we don’t have to put up with any unfairness or breaches of the law or our collective agreement. The first thing to do is for every member to insist they get every break they are entitled to. If you had your hours cut unfairly we may be able to take action to get them restored and possibly compensated for lost hours. This may be true, for example if the cuts aren’t imposed across all staff but only on a few staff in a store. Similarly we can ask questions if new staff have been hired and given shifts you were working before. Contact your organiser to discuss your situation or email the Unite office directly if you want help.

Unite Union AGM & National Conference November 26 & 27, 2013 Unite will be holding its national conference and AGM in Auckland on Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th of November at the Freemans Bay Community Hall, 52 Hepburn Street Auckland. Delegates will be attending from all over the country to participate in training workshops, discussions about the future of unionism and Unite, and to elect Unite’s National Executive, the leading body of the union. The conference is a great opportunity for leading members from different sectors and regions to meet up, learn from each other’s experiences, and take the movement forward. Any member can attend as an observer but voting representatives need to be either elected as AGM reps or already elected as union reps on their worksites. The Unite Exec has set the following voting representation at the AGM: Sites: 20-50 members - 1 rep 51-99 members - 2 reps 100+ members - 2 reps plus 1 per 50 additional members AGM Elected reps: Up to 50 reps from smaller sites.



Deadlines for the AGM are as follows: Tuesday 15th October Deadline for submission of any proposed rule changes from members. Nominations for elected AGM reps close. AGM rep election meetings scheduled (if required). Friday 29th October Any rule change or motions for consideration circulated to members via email, website and newsletters. Tuesday 12th November Nominations for National Secretary, President and Vice-President close. Tuesday 26th November Conference begins at Freemans Bay Community Hall. Nominations for the Executive close at the end of the day Wednesday 27th November AGM and Elections held. Rule changes and other AGM business considered. If you would like to attend or for more information (including nomination forms) please contact your organiser, the Unite National office or visit www. .

Mcdonalds agreement protects hours

continued from page 1

rest break. Unite has been able to get the legal rest break of 10 minutes increased to 15 minutes in all its collective agreements. The new clause ensures a 15 minute paid break in the 3-hour minimum shift. The 30 minute unpaid meal break is required for working more than 4 hours and a second 15 minute break kicks in for working more than six hours. This is the first time it has actually been in the agreement that the second rest break must happen for working more than six hours. Workers will be compensated an additional 15 minutes pay is they miss a rest break. We believe workers should also be compensated for missing the meal break but the company and union are in dispute on that issue with differing interpretations of a clause in the old collective agreement and will probably end up in court over the issue. If we are successful workers could be owed several million dollars. In this agreement we included a clause that the union had the right to seek a penalty and compensation for individual workers if they miss their meal break. The company has also committed to doing a more thorough auditing process of stores to ensure compliance with the breaks clause.

Wage increase modest The wage increase is modest and constrained by the 25 cent an hour minimum wage movement. This was

Otara Union Health Centre FREE GP & Nurse Consultations for union members and their whanau Multi-cultural team English, Te Reo Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island, Malaysian, Tagalog and Ilocano spoken Open Mon-Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm Ph: (09) 274 9135 for an appointment 3/100 Alexander Cres, OTARA

increased to at least 30 cents an hour for most workers but McDonald’s still remain behind rates paid at KFC – a gap which we had hoped to close more.


There were other small gains: .. Training being available to everyone within three months of starting and the higher rates that result from completing the training to apply from the date their books are submitted. .. No being forced to work outside their availability – especially overnight shifts. .. The new collective agreement will also be made available to all new staff with a membership form attached for those who want to join the union. .. The collective agreement itself has been radically rewritten to make it make more user friendly and is now half its previous length because a lot of company propaganda has been removed. The new collective was approved and ratified by over 90% of members who voted In 2003, when Unite Union started reorganising some of the sectors of the economy that had largely lost union representation and collective agreements, we were horrified at the prevalence of what overseas has been dubbed “zero-hour contracts”. Most of the workers we represent today in fast food, movie theatres, security,

call centres, and hotels had individual employment agreements that had no guaranteed hours. Workers also rarely got their proper breaks – especially in fast food. In the UK the fact that an estimated one million workers are on zero hour contracts has become a national scandal. In the USA there is the beginnings of a widespread revolt against insecure hours and low wages with nationwide strikes taking place With the most recent Restaurant Brands agreement (covering KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks) and now the McDonald’s agreement we have included clauses that demand the sharing of information with members and the union when disputes over staffing and rostering happens. We think this will significantly strengthen our position when we get into arguments over whether the company is actually complying with its obligations under the collective agreements. However Wendy’s is the only company we have an agreement for guaranteed hours for crew after 2 years service. It is probable that the percentage of workers on zero hour contracts in New Zealand is larger than the UK. The labour movement as a whole should be making the issue a national scandal in this country. In 2015 Unite will be renegotiating the major fast food contracts with the goal of moving from secure hours to guaranteed hours for most staff.

righ ur& YOUR know SOCIALyo MEDIA JOBts There have been recent changes in case law (judgements in specific cases before the employment courts) which effect social media. Employee’s should be aware of the standing of social media to protect themselves from disciplinary actions. Recent case law has defined the Facebook “Wall” as public. Any “status update” or any post in this part of Facebook is not considered private. Even if your settings are “Private”, this just prevents non“friends” from seeing; it is still considered public for proceedings. A second recent case in the Employment Authority ordered a worker to produce Facebook and bank account records over an alleged nongenuine sick day. Only the Authority can order this information, for the most part workers are

McSTRIKER: BACKPAID IN FULL Unite Union organiser Gary Cranston met Kapil Choudhary on an energetic and deeply heated strike at McDonald’s Wairau road during the McStrike campaign for a new Collective Agreement. Kapil was striking over being left on the wrong pay rate since November 2011. When asked to review Kapil’s CCO status, the company claimed they were unable to find the paperwork detailing the completion of his CCO and as such, couldn’t back pay him. Thankfully, Kapil still had his CCO completion certificate handy, so he sent the mysteriously missing document through to his organiser, then it was sent on to the company and Kapil was backpaid in full, his CCO (+12 months service) recognised and his pay rate raised from minimum wage to $14/ hour. It is alleged that Kapil was lied to by a manager who told him that qualifications gained at McOpCo stores aren’t transferred over when a worker moves from a franchise store. He was also told [by the same manager] that he couldn’t go for his crew trainer training as he hadn’t completed his CCO book. So what’s the moral of the story? Well, there are two lessons to be learned here folks; ONE: Contact your union organiser if you suspect you are on the wrong pay rate or you are receiving incorrect information or advise from management. TWO: Keep your paperwork safe, yourself! You might find that it has magically gone missing when it comes time for the company to find it. Especially if money is at stake. Kapil is now persuing a claim for career discrimination.

protected by the Privacy Act)

.. Check your privacy settings so only “friends” can see posts and photos

.. If any of your “friends” are colleagues, they can

see and pass on your information for whatever reason

.. Consider “not posting anything you don’t want your boss to see” as a principle

.. Avoid mentioning or referring to the company you work for, especially if in a “public” setting.

It is important to check check your company policy even it is not fair. Unite is looking to negotiate such policies with companies in the future and have done so with McDonald’s, focussing on education rather than punishment.

MANAGERS Beware continued from page 1 You also can’t be disciplined for making sure all workers have their breaks and paying overtime (at Restaurant Brands) if you have to get someone to work longer. Often practices that are known to exist with a “wink wink” attitude can become a problem when you have a falling out with someone or a new area or regional manager comes on the scene with a different approach. Maybe they want you out to get their mate into the job. The best rule is to follow the rules. SEPTEMBER 2013 UNITE NEWS


Unite News September 2013  
Unite News September 2013