1 Oct

In the last few weeks, several workers have contacted Unite, highly distressed that their hours have been cut without explanation. In all these cases, the Union was successful in restoring their hours back up to previous levels.

Our union agreements provide different protections in different companies. Every delegate and member should know which clause is important to police in our contract on the sites and notify the union when a new Manager violates these conditions.

McDonalds union members are protected by Appendix A, clause 1, of the Memorandum of Understanding between the company and the Union. The “Targeted Scheduled Hours” provision has three conditions-
(a) the worker normally works 25 hours per week or more.
(b) they have 12 months service already
(c) they have a performance rating of good or better,
Workers who fulfil these conditions are targeted for scheduled hours, based on the agreed availability for work at the start of their employment. They shall be offered additional regular shifts before new employees are employed. Any reduction in hours must be fairly distributed across the board- any worker who loses more than 25% of their hours should contact the Union immediately.

KFC/Pizza Hut/Starbucks
Clause 5.2 of the Restaurant Brands agreement states that “Any additional hours that become available either as a result of an Employee resignation or an increase in a store’s capacity, shall initially be offered to existing Employees. Wherever practical, such additional hours must first be offered to the Employee with the most service for the appropriate qualification required. If through a reduction in a store’s capacity there are less hours available, then the reduction of hours shall be spread fairly and reasonably across Employees”.

Clause 7 of the Wendys contract protects security of hours. Clause 7.2 has the same conditions as clause 5.2 of the KFC/Pizza Hut/ Starbucks agreement. In addition, clause 7.3 states that –
“Employees within the coverage of this contract with 3 years of service or more are eligible to select a minimum number of guaranteed hours of work per week, providing that the minimum number is less than 30, and that the employee has open availability. Employees with open availability on six days per week are eligible to select….less than 25”.

Burger King
Union delegates in Burger King should be aware of the Policy- Variation of Weekly Hours, Version 3, 190412. This document has a lot of provisos, but states in clause 3- “Burger King’s objective is to provide team members with some level of security.. this policy only applies to team members with 12 months’ service who work 20 hours or more per week”. Clause 4 – hours of work should not be reduced by more than 25%. Clause 5 – Where additional shifts become available.. ..these shifts will be first offered to team members who are fully effective in the position…. Where customer demand is lower than normal, the reduction in hours will be shared reasonably and fairly amongst team members..”

Clause 14 of the Union agreement covers in great detail Hours of Work at Hoyts. There are many conditions placed on workers around availability, shift swaps and rosters. Clause 14.9 also covers the “On Call Roster” for workers looking to boost their hours through increased flexibility around availability. Clause 14.11.3 needs the most policing by Union members on site and is reproduced here- “Where additional regular shifts become available due to an increase in business or a reduction in staff these shifts shall be offered to existing workers, wherever practical, before new staff are employed”.

Similar provisions also exist in clause 14 of the Events Contract. Here, clause 14.8 of the agreement states –
“Where additional regular shifts become available due to an increase in business or a reduction in staff these shifts shall be offered to existing workers, wherever practical, before new staff are employed”.

These provisions must be enforced by delegates and union members on site. Managers should be educated in these legally binding conditions, subject to the union examining and scrutinising the fairness of application of provisos etc. An active union on site will make these words the law, and will root out any instances of favouritism, nepotism, bullying or disciplining workers by reducing their hours unfairly. Contact your, delegate, organiser or the Unite office if you believe this is happening on your site.


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