BURGER KING WORKERS: ‘WE NEED TO GET ORGANISED’
I first became a member of Unite Union in 2009 when a notice of “initiation bargaining” went up on the notice board. I contacted Unite to ask what the Union was about and what was initiating of bargaining. I joined Unite as myself and other crew members were looking at getting better working conditions, rights and wages and to be treated fairly in the workplace.
In the store I worked in there was a lot of favouritism and if you didn’t “perform” your hours were cut. This was a breach of the collective agreement, since hours can’t be cut as punishment but only depending on the operational requirements (i.e. sales are low) of the store and your own availability. Also new staff were being hired when existing staff were wanting more hours which was again a breach of the agreement.
At times crew were not getting their breaks – another breach. Crew need their break so they don’t get fatigued which can cause a serious hazard not just to themselves but also their workmates.
When I first joined Unite I asked around the other crew members if they would like to join. After that I got a phone call at home from my restaurant manager asking if i was talking to people about the union. I said I was so he told me to stop it and hung up on me. I contacted Unite. The same restaurant manager would not allow me into the office at work to photocopy union material but also the first aid kit was in there so couldn’t be accessed easily. Again I contacted the union. The restaurant manager no longer works for BK.
In 2009 I got nominated to be the store delegate and was sent me up to Auckland to the Unite conference where I was elected to the national executive of the union. I am now a Unite Organiser for Palmerston North and surrounding areas, helping others daily to empower themselves, be treated fairly and to get better working rights.
I’ve learnt that when Burger King workers get organised we can get better wages and fair conditions.
– Bonita Moyes