Unite Union is calling on all New Zealanders to give support to McDonald's workers this Friday, May 1st by tooting their support when they see pickets outside stores and not buying a burger on that day.
Unite received an email this morning from a McDonald's worker typical of the many we have received over the years: "I am definitely against this zero hour contract thing at McDonald's, I've been working there and I have literally struggled with my house expenses and the level of bullying was also extreme, and just coz of zero contract thing I could not even approach anyone so that I don't lose on those handful of hours that I was getting to work. It was as if people are into customer support but are hardly bothered to smile. I am definitely supportive of ending the zero contract at Mcds."
McDonald's walked out of bargaining on Tuesday because they refused to discuss how an offer to end zero hours would work. In particular the company had no offer to make around the second aspect of Unite's secure hours claims which was for more regular and secure shifts being rostered rather than workers having to wait until only a few days before for the rosters to go up telling what days they will be working.
Restaurant Brands and Burger King have offered to move to secure shifts as well as a formula to guarantee hours.  
McDonald's is also wanting workers to give up their paid tea breaks for working a three hour shift, give up a second tea break for working between 6 and seven and a half hours, and give up a third tea break for working between 8 and 11 and half hours.
McDonald's has a deeply anti-union history around the world. It is no different in New Zealand.
  • The company started paying non union staff earning above the minimum wage a 50 cent an hour increase from April 1 but threatening union members that they won't get that increase. 
  • Some franchisees did no pay the minimum wage rise from April 1 to union members until told they were breaking the law!
  • The company deliberately delayed negotiations for several weeks until the contract expired on the promise of a big move towards an end to zero hours and when the offer came it affected less than 10% of staff. 
  • The company won't allow the union to put notices up in stores without the company censors approval.
  • The company refuses staff the option of joining the union at the time they join the company.
  • Workers at McDonalds franchises are routinely pressured to resign from the union under threats.
  • Managers, or anyone who wants to be a manager, are told that being in the union is not good for their future prospects.
  • The company was the last of the fast food companies to sign a collective agreement with Unite. During the initial negotiations they refused to deduct union fees for six months and paid a minimum wage rise a month early to non-union staff to try to stop people joining Unite.
  • The company regularly interferes with Unite's right to visit member and talk to non-members when legally visiting stores.
  • The company has cut the hours of staff for taking strike action.
  • The company refuses to recognise the right of union staff to go behind the counter to inspect for health and safety breaches.
  • The company managers constantly use their power to cut hours under zero hour contracts to punish workers for exercising basic legal rights including taking their breaks and using sick leave. This culture is so ingrained that the company made a formal proposal in bargaining that they wanted to be able to take guaranteed hours off staff for two alleged "no shows".
Help the McDonald's workers stand up to bullying and intimidation on May Day - international workers day.


Submitted by

Mike Treen

Written 29/4/2015