The union has upped its visits to Wendy’s stores, as we begin to bargain for a new contract for 2012. We secured a pay increase across most pay scales in April as the contract rates for crew are set as margins above the minimum wage which increased by 50 cents an hour. The supervisor rates also increased by a similar percentage. However in negotiations for the new new contract there are other conditions that we seek to improve besides pay.
1. We want to introduce a Union members only Benefits package that we have already secured for workers in KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. This would give workers a discount book and card with many 2 for 1 deals in restaurants, cinemas etc. There would be an annual Union festival at Rainbows End, and a Christmas bonus – a hamper, voucher, ham or turkey to help with the celebrations. Members would also be covered by a life insurance package of up to $10,000 value for themselves and $5000 for a partner in the event of any death – which would also help migrant workers with costs of repatriation to their families. Finally, the union, in conjunction with the company, can arrange interest free loans of up to $500 for members who have an emergency. This loan will be paid back by arranging some extra hours every week, to help with budgeting.
Together, these 5 elements will make working at Wendy’s a lot more enjoyable and the company can afford it by dropping 2 or 3 of their expensive TV ads from their yearly advertising budget.
2. Workers want more transparency when it comes to their payslips and payroll systems. They want a record of Days in Lieu owed. The company is again pushing for pay day to be changed to a Friday which will affect workers automatic payments. We are looking for more input from workers into what they want to see in a new payroll system.
3. In Wendy’s we have won a good clause for secure hours. However, the open availability conditions are somewhat draconian. If a child has soccer practice once a week, or a member has religious obligations at their place of worship, then this currently counts against open availability. We believe that this should be relaxed to allow workers some freedom to plan events with community and family. Three years is also a long time to wait to qualify for secure hours too. We will seek to reduce this, and to also look at seeing if open availability around hours can be split between weekly and weekend workers.
4. Pay increases in Wendy’s pay scales are sometimes based around performance, rather than the completion of training modules or length of service, which is the norm in other fast food restaurants unionised by Unite. Workers who have been with the company for two years, three years, five years etc, deserve an increment after length of service.
We are holding claims meetings at the moment in all Wendy’s stores to get more input from workers. Members should think about what you would you like to see in your new contract?