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Unite Union conference declares war on zero hour contracts

9 Dec

​Unite fast food delegates send a message of support to US workers

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

150 Unite Union delegates resolved to launch a campaign in the new year to end zero hour contracts in the fast food industry at their national conference December 1-2.

At their national conference Unite discussed recent cases where the existence of these type of agreements have been used against workers.

Ex-McDonald’s worker Stephanie Phillips was at work even though she had three broken ribs and a punctured lung. When the pain and discomfort got too much she asked to go home but this was refused. When a customer saw her coughing up blood and complained she was transferred to the drive through. She was only allowed to leave after 5 hours. Workers are able to be treated this way because they lack the power to assert their rights. They know that if they do speak up the managers take their revenge by cutting their hours.

Restaurant Brands which owns the KFC brand implemented a new roster last week cutting hundreds of hours from workers regular roster without consultation. Some staff have been working regular 5-6 hour shifts for many years only to have their shifts cut to three hours. Management hours have also been cut so that it will be impossible for them to run the store without themselves clocking out and working unpaid. There will be added pressure on crew to not take breaks and work unpaid as well. Again the company believes it can do this because there are no guaranteed hours for crew at KFC. Suspicion is widespread that these cost cutting measures are designed to boost profits so that the share price hits $4 and triggers a $1 million bonus for the chief executive.

Opposition party leaders including Andrew Little from Labour, Winston Peters from NZ First and Metiria Turei from the Greens spoke to the Unite conference in support of the union’s objectives.

Action Station has also swung in behind the campaign to ban zero hour contracts.

Fast Food pay rates to change April 1

15 Mar

Message to all Unite workers fast food restaurants:

From April 1 all rates in companies where Unite has collective agreements will increase by at least 50 cents an hour.

These companies are McDonald’s, Burger King, Restaurant Brands & Wendy’s.

All collective agreements at these companies have a clause that all rates would increase by at least 50 cents or the percentage increase in the minimum wage.

The government has announced that the minimum wage will increase from $13.75 to $14.25 from April 1. This equals a 3.636% increase on the minimum rate. All rates above the minimum increase by a similar percentage.

From April 1 Restaurant Brands Rates are:
The different rates for Restaurant Brands (KFC, Pizzza Hut, Starbucks and Carl’s Jr) are in the attached PDF or can be seen here.

From April 1 McDonald’s Rates are as follows:
Minimum Crew rate: $14.25
Crew CCO $14.50
Crew CCO (12 months) $14.80
Crew Trainer $15.05
Maintenance Person $15.05
Shift Assistant $15.05
Shift Supervisor/McCafe TL $17.11
Cert Shift Supervisor $18.25

From April 1 Burger King Rates are as follows:
Team Member – $14.25
Team Member Level 3 – $14.51
Team Trainer – $14.82
Production Coordinator – $15.08

The Wendy’s rates are subject to the current negotiations. The crew rates will increase by at least 50 cents to:
Crew Start $14.25
6 months Automatic $14.50
12 months review $14.75
18 month Review $15.00
Shift Supervisor in training $15.25
Shift Supervisor (1 year) $16.00

Getting the right pay these holidays

23 Dec

Secure Jobs

With Christmas and New Years here it is important to know what your entitlements are through this period.


If you work on any public holiday, you should always be paid at least time and a half for the time you actually work (that means your normal hourly rate plus 50%).


You are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday if it would otherwise be a working day for you.


Establishing if a day is an otherwise working day is important to understand what entitlements you should receive on a public holiday. If it is not clear what day would be an “otherwise working day” then you should:

  • Check your Collective Agreement
  • Check your work patterns in previous weeks
  • Consider any other factors, including;
    • if you only work when work is available
    • rosters or similar systems
    • reasonable expectations (if you would be expected to work on the day).

It is standard practice that if you work three out of the previous four same days of the week the public holiday falls on you are entitled to treat it as an “otherwise working day” but this isn’t a hard rule.


If you feel your roster has been changed by your manager in December so that you don’t qualify for a day-in-lieu then contact Unite on 0800 2UNITE and let us know. Continue reading

Security Newsletter – February 2013

5 Feb

END InSECURITY Campaign Update


Unite Union launched a campaign on December 5th called “End InSecurity” with a view to draw attention to serious issues within the security industry in New Zealand including:
-Low pay (close to min wage)
-No job security (moved from site to site)
-Insecure hours (20 one week, 70 the next)
-Lack of training (Many guards have been prevented from completing their Levels 2 and 3 and a subsequent payrise)
-Dangerous work, alone, sometimes without comms equipment.
-No backup when things go wrong (client always comes first, guards don’t feel backed up by their employer.
-High staff turnover leading to breakdowns in communication and loss of organisational knowledge.

Unite aims to improve conditions for guards in the above key areas. So far we have met with the New Zealand Security Association and corresponded with Member of Parliament Chester Borrows. Keep updated on our facebook page

Collective Employment Agreements

First Security:
The First Security C.E.A expired on 31 January. All First Security staff should have been informed by the company that Unite Union has initiated bargaining to negotiate for a new agreement.
All members need to make sure they come to one of the “claims meetings” which will be held in February to make you voice heard and offer your suggestions of what you would like to see in your new agreement.
Delegates will represent the membership at the negotiation meetings and will keep you informed during the process.
Member participation is key in all aspects of the negotiating process so please keep up with the txts, emails and newsletters that are coming out.

Security Officers (Static and Mobile Patrols)

Your current CEA expires 31 March 2013. Initiation for a new round of bargaining has been made and members should have received notice from Armourguard regarding this.
Txts and emails will be sent out this month to let you know when we will be having “claims meetings” to discuss what you would like to see in your next agreement, and a strategy of how to get it. We will also be electing some new delegates to support our existing delegates so it is important you attend.
Icon Security changes
Icon Security staff recently found out their company has been bought by Global Security Services. At this stage all union members have been offered employment which appears equal to their Icon positions and remuneration however if workers have questions they should contact Unite Union.

Issues this month:

The Unite office has received multiple calls this month regarding issues with pay including workers being underpaid, workers being overpaid and even workers earning an incorrect pay rate for long periods of time.

Pay is an important issue to get right and each company has a process for dealing with payroll problems so if you are not clear on what to do when a mistake happens at your company either approach your employer directly or contact the union. Most pay issues are simple mistakes and can be quickly and easily rectified.

Training is the second most common complaint and it is apparent that many guards are desperate to complete their Levels 2 and 3. One of our goals is to see more Officers complete training in 2013 so let us know if you need help to make this happen!

The Security Organiser has also dealt with several disciplinary cases recently involving Security Officers. It is important that you make use of the representation available to you through Unite Union so do get in contact with a delegate or the Organiser if you receive a letter inviting you to a meeting.

Regardless of fault it is important that a correct process is followed and that you receive fair and accurate representation to achieve the best possible result.

Delegate of the month:

Quentin Lagocki- ADT Armourguard

Quentin joined Unite in February 2012 and became a Union Delegate in November 2012. Since then he has made a big impact. Quentin attended the Unite national AGM and Conference in November and received delegate training. He has demonstrated strong leadership skills, has recruited some members and advised them on solving their issues. Thank you Quentin for your service.

Your delegates:

If you haven’t already, take the time to get to know your delegates.
Members please feel free to communicate with your delegates as your first point of call in your workplace.

We run delegate training several times a year so your delegates have up to date information and training to advise you.
Delegates can support you at disciplinary meetings (we believe you should never go alone) and help you to identify whether your issue is a small one you can rectify yourself or with their help, or whether you need to contact the union.

Your delegates will also represent you during negotiations so if you have any questions, comments or suggestions please approach them.

First Security:
Jason Booth
Saifudden Jariwala

Temukisa (Kisa) Lafai
David Wheeler
Quentin Lagocki

Icon Security (Global):
Matire (Millie) Maikuku
Abe Puru
Emma Te Ariki

Joining a Union

 Legally, it is your individual right to decide if you want to belong to a union.  It is against the law for a Manager or Supervisor to discourage you from joining or to try to get you to resign from the union. Unite Union takes cases of discrimination, harassment or bullying against union members very seriously. We will not put up with it and you shouldn’t either. If this happens to you or your workmates  get in touch with us immediately.

Want a better deal?   How about a payrise?

If you have negotiations for a new Collective Employment Agreement that will soon be underway and you would like to get involved please let us know. You can be a delegate and attend the negotiation meetings, and you can also help by talking to your workmates about the union and helping them join up if they want to be part of it. You can help to get a better deal by talking to your workmates and making sure that anyone who wants to be covered by the union agreement joins up so they receive the extra benefits!

Health and Safety:

Both Employers and Employees have a duty to keep themselves and each other safe at work. The New Zealand Security Association has a code of practice policy which states that Security officers “should be provided with the most appropriate and robust equipment required to deliver high levels of service for the client.” In addition, all guards should have a way to contact base and base should also be performing a welfare check of guards every 60 minutes.

Pizza Hut Manager “tossed aside like garbage” says union

18 Oct

Restaurant Brands is refusing to reemploy a Pizza Hut assistant manager Amit Sharma despite 4 years service with the company because his work visa was renewed by immigration two days late.

The delay in getting approval was caused by Immigration NZ having to ask the company to resend its sponsorship forms because the ones they used to support the assistant managers application were no longer valid.

Now the worker faces having his right to stay in New Zealand terminated on Friday unless the company comes to the rescue.

Unite Union National Director Mike Treen says “the company’s attitude is simply inhuman.

“Here we have someone who has given the company 4 years service and he is tossed aside like so much garbage because they can’t be bothered renewing their sponsorship.

“The company told us they have no positions for an assistant manager in any of their dozens of store. We don’t accept that argument. In fact his manager at the Birkenhead store told me that he has been without an assistant since Amit was terminated and he wants Amit back in his store.

“The only fair thing to do in these circumstances is to place Amit back as an Assiatant Manager with the company” said Mike Treen. It is the only decent and humane thing to do.”

Joining and belonging to a union

5 Oct

Workers in some workplaces feel pressured by management to leave unions or not join them in the first place. The reason that some employers or managers try to influence people to leave the union is basically because they want as much profit from the work of the employees as possible, whereas the union wants the employees to get the best pay and conditions possible for their work. While many companies might wish there was no union on site, it is illegal for employers or their representatives  to try to influence you against belonging to the union.

The law which fully protects an employee’s right to belong to a union is contained in Part 3 of the Employment Relations Act which is titled “Freedom of association”. Part 3 establishes that an employee has a legal entitlement to belong to a union and can do so according to that employee’s own choice. Continue reading

Migrant Workers – their problems are every worker’s problems

5 Oct

A few members have commented that we have put too much emphasis on protecting the rights of migrant workers when “NZ workers” are also being exploited.  It is absolutely true that anyone who works for an employer is exploited in some way. The most fundamental way that happens is that the employer pays less for the labour power they employ than they get for the products of that labour. All of an employer’s profit in the last analysis comes from the labour of workers.

However some groups of workers are able to be super-exploited for one reason or another – usually because they are in a weaker bargaining situation with their employer. Traditionally this has been true for women and young people. In the first half of last century Maori workers could be paid less. Until the 1970s in New Zealand many contracts (including collective agreements) had a lower rate of pay for women. Women weren’t considered the real breadwinner. They were only working for “pin money” and so could be paid less. This was also true for young workers until last decade when youth rates were finally abolished in most industries. Continue reading

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