INDEPENDENT NEWS

Restaurant Brands staff to go on first strike in a decade

Published: Fri 21 Apr 2017 03:19 PM
Friday 21 April 2017 12:08 PM
Restaurant Brands staff to go on first strike in a decade
By Paul McBeth
April 21 (BusinessDesk) - Half of Restaurant Brands New Zealand's 4,000-strong workforce is set to walk off the job tomorrow after negotiations for a new collective agreement broke down.
About 2,000 Unite Union members will picket selected KFC stores in Auckland, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin at lunch time tomorrow in an effort to twist the company's arm over disputed pay and conditions. Restaurant Brands operates New Zealand's KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks Coffee franchises and has branched out to Australian KFC stores and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut businesses in Hawaii.
Unite national director Mike Treen told BusinessDesk his members haven't had a strike at Restaurant Brands since 2006, and that the company has previously set the benchmark in the fast-food sector, being the first to sign a collective agreement, ditch youth rates, reward staff loyalty with a stepped pay hike, and moved to a fixed-shift system after the zero hours change.
"In the past, they have been the first to move in a positive direction," Treen said. "They're adopting a position which is going to put them behind McDonald's which we can't allow - McDonald's is normally the difficult one."
Treen said tomorrow's strike is the start, but that "what they are trying to achieve is simply unacceptable to the workers and if we have to fight them for months, we will fight them for months".
One of the disputed issues is Unite's push for an annual wage increase of 10 cents an hour for three years for Restaurant Brands' lowest paid workers taking their wage to 30 cents above the minimum wage by 2019, something McDonald's has already committed to, whereas Restaurant Brands has offered just one 10-cent increase over three years.
"We've welcomed it with McDonald's because it establishes the principle that they're no longer a minimum wage employer," he said. "It's silly of Restaurant Brands to pick a fight with us over these issues because they're actually hugely profitable at the moment."
Restaurant Brands yesterday reported a 7.8 percent increase in annual profit as record sales at its New Zealand KFC stores and the acquisition of a KFC franchise across the Tasman bolstered earnings. The company noted rising labour costs as squeezing margins, and its wage bill rose 25 percent to $130.7 million in the year, lagging behind a 28 percent increase in revenue to $497.2 million. The company's wage bill equated to 26.3 percent of revenue in the 52 weeks ended Feb. 27, down from 26.9 percent a year earlier.
Other sticking points include lifting shift supervisors' pay to a living wage, provisions for redundancy pay, overtime allowances, ensuring existing staff get offered new or changed shifts when they come up, break times, and health and safety representatives.
Restaurant Brands chief executive Russel Creedy wasn't immediately available for comment.
The company's shares fell 0.6 percent to $5.22, having gained 3.4 percent so far this year.
(BusinessDesk)
BusinessDesk
Independent, Trustworthy New Zealand Business News
The Wellington-based BusinessDesk team led by former Bloomberg Asian top editor Jonathan Underhill and Qantas Award-winning journalist and commentator Pattrick Smellie provides a daily news feed for a serious business audience.
Contact BusinessDesk
Email:

Next in Business, Science, and Tech

TPP minus US starting to gain ground
By: BusinessDesk
Annual inflation highest in over five years
By: Statistics New Zealand
NZ income tax rate second lowest among developed nations
By: BusinessDesk
Round up of this week’s weather
By: MetService
Batten Down the Hatches for Cyclone Cook
By: MetService
Ideological recklessness to resurrect a TPPA-minus-US
By: Professor Jane Kelsey
Historic PACER Plus agreement finally concluded
By: New Zealand Government
PACER Plus Pacific trade deal has fishhooks
By: Green Party
PACER-Plus trade deal without PNG and Fiji a bad deal
By: AFTINET
Annual NZ consumer prices rise 2.2% in 1Q
By: BusinessDesk
NZ Q1 Consumer Price Inflation Release
By: HiFX
Many New Zealanders are worse off under National
By: New Zealand Labour Party
Power Prices up 2.2%; Collins in Denial
By: New Zealand First Party
Rising CPI means we need houses more than ever
By: ACT New Zealand
Prices of necessities rising
By: New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media