KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr, Starbucks workers strike for pay rise, restaurants feeling the heat
A fast-food chain locked its doors for an hour to wait for cover as workers went on strike.
Staff from KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks restaurants around the country walked off the job at midday on Saturday over pay demands.
Carl's Jr at Bush Inn Shopping Centre in Christchurch closed its doors from 10am to 11am to allow an on-call staff member to arrive.
The restaurant's manager said claims its workers were taken hostage were wrong.
In a video shared on Facebook, Carl's Jr workers were shown behind locked doors, and customers were unable to get in.
"What happened was because my staff were on strike, I didn't have the right amount of people to open," Carl's Jr's Bush Inn Shopping Centre manager said.
"I was not holding anyone hostage."
Once the on-call staff member arrived, the doors reopened and the union was let in and given time to speak with staff, she said.
They were only closed for about an hour, she said.
On top of that, at 11.30am, Starbucks Riccarton closed its doors and asked its customers to leave as all its staff went on strike.
Workers from the fast-food chains, owned by Restaurant Brands, were striking after the company refused a pay rise of 10¢ an hour each year, for three years.
That rise would increase workers' pay to 30¢ an hour above the minimum wage by 2019.
Unite union national director Mike Treen said some stores would close as a result of the strike.
"[But] we need to show we're serious. Our three main concerns are getting workers off the minimum wage, getting supervisors onto a living wage, and pay equity."
KFC supervisors, who were mostly women, were being paid $1.80 an hour less than cooks, who were mostly men. Cooks were given a $2.50 pay rise last year.
The refusal to increase pay comes after Restaurant Brands announced on Thursday a profit of $26 million after tax, up $1.9 million from the previous year.
Unite accused Restaurant Brands of refusing to offer redundancy payment for workers. Workers are given one week's notice if they are fired.
On Friday, Restaurant Brands chief executive Russel Creedy would not answer questions about why cooks were paid more than shift supervisors.
In a statement, Creedy said the company had made an offer to workers that was rejected and it was disappointed workers were striking.