McDonald's staff to strike over zero-hour contracts
McDonald's staff will strike on Friday after representatives from the fast food chain walked out of negotiations to end "zero-hour" contracts.
Controversial zero-hour employment contracts give workers no guarantee on how many hours they will get each week and are under close scrutiny from unions and politicians.
Both Burger King and Restaurant Brands, which owns the KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Carl's Jr chains, have recently pledged to end the use of zero-hour contracts.
McDonald's proposed to formalise a policy guaranteeing workers would get at least 80 per cent of their average hours, based on the previous 12 weeks, up to a 40-hour cap.
However McDonald's representatives walked out of bargaining on Tuesday after the union sought clarification on the terms, Unite national director Mike Treen said.
"Instead of negotiating meaningfully on these issues which we were prepared to do, they walked out," Treen said.
McDonald's spokesman Simon Kenny said Unite changed its position at the mediation meeting.
"We then left the bargaining table as we did not feel continuing today would bring us closer to agreement," Kenny said.
"We question their commitment to the bargaining process, particularly in view of the industrial action planned in advance for Friday"
McDonald's was committed to reaching an agreement, he said.
"Unite need to stop making excuses and negotiate in good faith."
Treen said the union also wanted to bargain around other claims including a special $200 a year payment for union members to allow collective agreement terms to be passed on to non-union members.
The payment was about the equivalent to the average annual union fee members pay, Treen said.
McDonald's offered a one off payment up to $200, he said.
The union also wanted the right to put up union information in stores without a company veto and for staff to have the right to join the union when they first joined the company.
McDonald's did not provide a clear application process for new staff members to join a collective agreement, Treen said.
"These are basic rights we have at other fast food companies," Treen said.
Unite members would strike at McDonald's on Friday in "as many stores possible" from Kaitaia to Dunedin, he said.
"Several dozen stores have indicated they'll take part."