Unite and McDonald’s have worked together in helping an Indian assistant manager, who was terminated from his job, to find other employment. The manager had booked his ticket home but after contacting the union he was reinstated and backpaid for his lost earnings.
The manager had been working for his McDonald’s franchisee for three years. For the first two and a half years he did five graveyard shifts a week. For the last four months he has done two to three graveyard shifts and two day shifts a week.
Four weeks ago the franchisee’s area manager approached him to transfer to another store and do exclusively graveyards again. He objected that he needed to keep working some days and manager said he had to do at least two a week or he had to resign. He asked if he could choose the graveyard shifts, the manager said no and told him to resign if he was unhappy. The consultant also said it was in the contract that he had to have open availability.
This assistant manager felt he had no choice but to resign. He gave three weeks’ notice. After he gave notice he was only rostered to work for two weeks and the franchisee said they would deduct $250 from his final pay because he was part way through his ASM training. He also booked his ticket home to India because his visa was conditional on him working for McDonald’s.
At this point the assistant manager sought assistance from the union. We challenged the “resignation” and told the franchisee that this was effectively a “constructive dismissal” because the assistant manager was being forced to resign by being given unreasonable “choices”.
We had a meeting with the franchisee’s area manager immediately, stating the union’s views on the case and telling them we required three remedies – pay him the third and final weeks pay, drop the claim for $250 and transfer him from the franchisee to a store owned by McOpCo, McDonald’s parent company in New Zealand. We also approached the HR Department at McDonald’s head office for help, who also had communication with the franchisee and area manager concerned in helping resolve this issue.
Now, this area manager and union member has got a new job in one of McDonald’s company stores and is very happy with his new position. He said to us, ‘Thanks for everything. The union helped me win my job back.’