23 Apr

English Language schools, Qantas Airways call centre, Waikato DHB , Events and Hoyts cinemas, Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Restaurant Brands, First Security.

Unite Union Delegates training day at the Auckland Unite office

English Language schools
Members at EF English language school have received a 3.5% increase in their new union contract which has a one year term before expiry. At the Embassy English language school Unite signed off on a three-year deal which will increase pay by 3% in the first year and 3.5% in the second year, then on the third year it will increase by a further a minimum of 3% but it will increase by more if inflation is higher than 3%.

Qantas Airways call centre
Between 80 and 90 members employed by Qantas at its call centre have achieved and ratified their first ever union agreement. It is a three year deal which gives 3% increase on wages and allowances for each year and is also back-dated for a significant period to June 2011. Many conditions have been clarified and during negotiations a significant problem was uncovered in that the large pay bands were not working with far too many staff at the bottom of the band. Unite and the company have agreed to resolve the problem during the course of the agreement.

Waikato DHB attendants
In February Unite signed off a new agreement based around the national Terms of Settlement which applied to a group of unions with smaller contracts at the DHB. Highlights of the agreement are an additional week of leave for those with 5 years’ service, a one-off payment of $100 in February 2012, a one-off payment of $750 in April, and then a 2.5% increase on rates halfway through the agreement.

A start in Events and Hoyts cinemas
The first negotiation session has been held with the Events and Hoyts cinema chains. Readings will be negotiated mid-year. Union claims include higher wages, guaranteed hours, and improved benefits.

Initiation of bargaining with Burger King
Unite has initiated bargaining again with Burger King. This means the company has to negotiate a new agreement with Unite. After last year we hoped that this company would stop keeping nearly all its staff on the minimum wage. However that was not to be the case. From April 1 the $13.50 legal minimun wage is being applied to all staff up to level 3 proficiency. Team trainers & maintenance will be on $13.75 and Production Service Coordinator’s on $14. These are the lowest wages in the fast food industry. If we are going to improve these wages we need union members at BK to start getting actively involved in Unite and the negotiations planned for later this year.

McDonald’s workers GET pay increase from union deal
Because there was a Collective Agreement already in place at McDonald’s there has been an automatic increase of either 50c or 3.85% on all pay rates from April 1. The full agreement gets renegotiated next year.

Wendy’s: Payrise for all from April 1
Unite’s union agreement with Wendy’s stipulates that all rates increase by the same amount as the minimum wage. This means there will be a 50 cent an hour increase from April 1. We have initiated bargaining with the company so there will be claims meeting soon to hear from members what changes they want in the agreement.

Restaurant Brands: Disappointing offer
Negotiations with Restaurant Brands (KFC, Pizza Hutt and Starbucks) got off to a rocky start with the company asking for takebacks. The company wants to reduce the break time to 10 minutes, introduce 2 hour minimum shifts at KFC, and only increase wages for most by 1.5%. The union is asking for $15 an hour, guaranteed hours and penalties if workers miss their breaks. The company is claiming it needs its take-backs to increase its profitability. On the second set of negotiating days (April 12 and 13) the company didn’t move from its 1.5% pay offer. There was a suggestion that there may be a little more on offer for KFC members only but not much.
Unite will be going through a process with the membership and a survey is being distributed to members to complete (go to to see the online version). Unite doesn’t view the offer as worth taking into formal ratification meetings because the company usually offers a percentage which either covers inflation or is the same percentage movement as the minimum wage. Unless the company improves its offer there could be problems in store for this brand.
NOTE: We have produced and will continue to produce more detailed special newsletters and emails to keep members at RBL informed of bargaining progress.

First security: Good gains made but still concerns
In March Unite concluded a new agreement with First Security. It is a 13-month deal from January 1, 2012 through to January 31, 2012. It includes a 2% increase on all paid rates which have been backdated to January 1, 2012. There was also a negotiated one-off payment of $100 for union members.
There were also some good improvements on conditions of employment. Patrol offices are now entitled to an extra $100 allowance for each occasion that they are required to do a double-run (i.e. cover two areas in one shift). There is also a new employee well-being clause. Where there were few procedures before, the employee well-being clause now ensures there is a process to follow when a guard has been assaulted or suffers and injury at work.
Another contentious issue has been employee deductions; there is now a clear process of consultation for instances where the company wishes to make an authorised deduction from employees pay.



  1. Toni Skelton April 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Unite, please do not accept RBL’s offer. This company is the highest earner in the southern hemisphere, and they insist of divvying a reasonable pay rate. ? No, No, No…. As for reducing breaks from 15 to 10 minutes, and 30 to 20 minutes,….absolutely not. In the first place, they insist on adhereing to CPH, and under those circumstances, existing working staff are required to cover the work of 2 – 3 extra people, in order to adhere to CPH requests. No, No, No….we are not mules, and we are not super human. I insist that one of the CEO’s or any one of the negotiators on behalf of RBL, spend a day doing my job. Spend half a day doing my job. Then tell me what you want to cut from my already paltry benefits and be satisfied with my take home pay.

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