Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Restaurant Brands staff to go on first strike in a decade

Friday 21 April 2017 12:08 PM

Restaurant Brands staff to go on first strike in a decade

By Paul McBeth

April 21 (BusinessDesk) - Half of Restaurant Brands New Zealand's 4,000-strong workforce is set to walk off the job tomorrow after negotiations for a new collective agreement broke down.

About 2,000 Unite Union members will picket selected KFC stores in Auckland, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin at lunch time tomorrow in an effort to twist the company's arm over disputed pay and conditions. Restaurant Brands operates New Zealand's KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks Coffee franchises and has branched out to Australian KFC stores and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut businesses in Hawaii.

Unite national director Mike Treen told BusinessDesk his members haven't had a strike at Restaurant Brands since 2006, and that the company has previously set the benchmark in the fast-food sector, being the first to sign a collective agreement, ditch youth rates, reward staff loyalty with a stepped pay hike, and moved to a fixed-shift system after the zero hours change.

"In the past, they have been the first to move in a positive direction," Treen said. "They're adopting a position which is going to put them behind McDonald's which we can't allow - McDonald's is normally the difficult one."

Treen said tomorrow's strike is the start, but that "what they are trying to achieve is simply unacceptable to the workers and if we have to fight them for months, we will fight them for months".

One of the disputed issues is Unite's push for an annual wage increase of 10 cents an hour for three years for Restaurant Brands' lowest paid workers taking their wage to 30 cents above the minimum wage by 2019, something McDonald's has already committed to, whereas Restaurant Brands has offered just one 10-cent increase over three years.

"We've welcomed it with McDonald's because it establishes the principle that they're no longer a minimum wage employer," he said. "It's silly of Restaurant Brands to pick a fight with us over these issues because they're actually hugely profitable at the moment."

Restaurant Brands yesterday reported a 7.8 percent increase in annual profit as record sales at its New Zealand KFC stores and the acquisition of a KFC franchise across the Tasman bolstered earnings. The company noted rising labour costs as squeezing margins, and its wage bill rose 25 percent to $130.7 million in the year, lagging behind a 28 percent increase in revenue to $497.2 million. The company's wage bill equated to 26.3 percent of revenue in the 52 weeks ended Feb. 27, down from 26.9 percent a year earlier.

Other sticking points include lifting shift supervisors' pay to a living wage, provisions for redundancy pay, overtime allowances, ensuring existing staff get offered new or changed shifts when they come up, break times, and health and safety representatives.

Restaurant Brands chief executive Russel Creedy wasn't immediately available for comment.

The company's shares fell 0.6 percent to $5.22, having gained 3.4 percent so far this year.

(BusinessDesk)


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

By May 2018: Wider, Earlier Microbead Ban

The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Snail-ier Mail: NZ Post To Ditch FastPost

New Zealand Post customers will see a change to how they can send priority mail from 1 January 2018. The FastPost service will no longer be available from this date. More>>

ALSO:

Property Institute: English Backs Of Debt To Income Plan

Property Institute of New Zealand Chief Executive Ashley Church is applauding today’s decision, by Prime Minister Bill English, to take Debt-to-income ratios off the table as a tool available to the Reserve Bank. More>>

ALSO:

Divesting: NZ Super Fund Shifts Passive Equities To Low-Carbon

The NZ$35 billion NZ Super Fund’s NZ$14 billion global passive equity portfolio, 40% of the overall Fund, is now low-carbon, the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation announced today. More>>

ALSO: