McDonald's staff set to strike

Last updated 15:46 30/04/2013

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Unionised McDonald's staff will protest at the Queen St store in Auckland tomorrow before a countrywide strike threatened for next week.

Unite union spokesman Joe Carolan said its 1500 members at McDonald's planned to walk off the job next week over pay rates and working hours.

McDonald's had offered a 25-cent pay rise across the board, which was not enough, given the company had reported an almost $32 million annual profit, he said.

The proposed pay rise was less than an eighth of the cost of one of the fast-food chain's cheapest items, a small serving of fries at $2.20.

Carolan said McDonald's workers wanted parity with staff at KFC, where pay rates were considerably higher.

For example, KFC employees received a $1 pay rise on the minimum wage after about six months in the job, compared with a 25c lift at McDonald's.

Staff were also seeking more security on working hours as the company did not guarantee staff 40 hours of work a week.

"They're starting to shift a bit, but they won't recognise the idea of a fulltime worker," Carolan said.

"They'll get 30 to 35 hours a week, but there's no surety around that. The minimum wage is designed with 40 hours of work a week in mind."

A McDonald's spokesman said the company had made good progress in talks with the union, which represented about 20 per cent of its New Zealand work force, and was committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith.

Carolan said the union was also pushing for extras such as paid overtime and free meals during shifts, which KFC had agreed to.

"Talks with McDonald's broke down yesterday. Tomorrow we'll protest and announce our plans to take industrial action," he said.

According to records filed with the Companies Office, McDonald's Restaurants made a net profit of $31.8m in New Zealand last year - flat on the previous year - as revenue edged up 2.7 per cent to $204.7m.

The results are understood to include fees paid by franchisees to the company and sales at company-owned restaurants, not sales for all 160-odd McDonald's stores in New Zealand.

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