More employees on zero-hour contracts have contacted Campbell Live complaining of how their employers can’t even promise them half a shift.
Employers say the contracts allow them flexibility, but for the employee it means turning up for a shift, even if that shift is only an hour long.
As the union gets into negotiations this week with fast food companies, Campbell Live wanted to ask how many employees are on zero-hour contracts, and how does that number impact on New Zealand’s low unemployment rate?
Watch the video for the full report from Anna Burns-Francis.Video- Kiwis tied to Zero Hour Contracts
A major survey of fast food workers in New Zealand has
exposed the reality of “Zero Hour Contracts” for workers and some of the myths used to justify them.
Over a thousand fast food union members working for the major brands in New Zealand responded to Unite Union’s online survey, with nearly 700 giving detailed information on their working hours over the previous four weeks. That is the biggest response Unite Union has ever had to a member survey.
“Unfortunately it confirms in detail what we already knew from our worksite visits” said Unite Union National Secretary Gerard Hehir.
“Most fast food workers are willing and able to work more hours on a regular basis but are simply not given the opportunity. Over half who took part actually want an increase to 35 hours or more a week. We know hours become available on regular basis as other staff leave, but the companies choose to employ new staff and allocate hours week to week rather than offer any security of income.”
Wendy’s workers first strike at Hornby, Christchurch, on February 18, 2015
Unite Union has accused the Wendy’s corporation of intimidating workers to stop striking. Workers have been pulled aside by managers to caution them against striking "or there would be consequences for their future at Wendy’s". One union delegate was called into a meeting with the company CEO Danielle Lendich and told not to join the strikes.
Ironically today has been designated a global day of action in defence of the right to strike by the International Trade Union Confederation.
Unite action at Wendy’s is part of the union campaign against zero hour contracts in the industry. The company has written to staff and the public to say that all staff get hours each week but what they don’t say is that most staff have zero hours guaranteed. The only group of workers with guaranteed hours at Wendy’s are those with two years service and "open availability" over six or seven days in the week.
This Saturday, February 14, over 100 fast food workers from across New Zealand will be gathering in Auckland to discuss their upcoming battle to end zero hour contracts in the fast food industry. The conference is also open to anyone who wants to actively support the workers campaign.
This issue has emerged as the number one problem for workers in the industry over recent years. Almost no hourly paid staff have guaranteed hours. Attempts through previous collective agreements to regulate the allocation of hours in a fair and transparent manner have been unsuccessful. Unite has collective agreements with McDonald’s, Restaurant Brands (KFC, Car’s Jr, Pizza Hut and Starbucks); Burger King and Wendy’s. Whilst real improvements have been made it has proved difficult to get the companies to abandon their attachment to “flexibility” around rostered hours. The best we have achieved is to have clauses that specify the need to advertise hours to existing staff before new staff are hired but that has proved difficult to enforce.
The companies have a turnover of staff of about 66% a year and we have tried to argue that this could be reduced with regular guaranteed hours but the companies seem unmoved by that argument. They seem to prefer the control that zero hour contracts give over their staff. These type of contracts also exist in the security industry, hotels and many call centres where Unite represents workers as well.
US McDonald’s workers Genoby Jimes (2nd from left) and Anggie Godoy (3rd from left) join Wendy’s workers outside the Royal Oak store in Auckland February 10. (Photo by Jos Wheeler)
Wendy’s workers from five stores in Auckland and Papakura walked off the job yesterday over the company’s theft of their right to “alternative days” off or “lieu days” for working on a public holiday.
The workers were joined outside the Royal Oak store by two McDonald’s workers from the USA who are part of the campaign in Los Angeles for “$15 and hour and a Union“. Anggie Godoy, 19, and Genoby Jimes, 27, are in New Zealand to support Unite Union’s campaign against zero hour contracts in the fast food industry and will be attending a national fast food workers gathering in Auckland on February 14. Meetings are also planned in Wellington on February 11 and 12 with the Council of Trade Unions, members of parliament and union activists
Media Advisory Feb 3, 2015:
Two McDonald’s workers from the “Fight for15 LA” campaign in Los Angeles will be visiting New Zealand from February 9 to 17.
Anggie Godoy, 19, and Genoby Jimes, 27, are in New Zealand to support Unite Union’s campaign against zero hour contracts in the fast food industry and will be attending a national fast food workers gathering in Auckland on February 14. Meetings are also planned in Wellington on February 11 and 12 with the Council of Trade Unions, members of parliament and union activists
To arrange interviews please contact:
Auckland – Mike Treen 0295254744
Wellington – Heleyni Pratley 029494 9865
Genoby Jaimes, 27, has worked at McDonald’s for 6 years and only makes $9.75. She is a mother of a six year old son.
Anggie Godoy, 19, has worked at McDonald’s for a year and makes $9 an hour.