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Workers on strike at Burger King New Zealand for better pay and conditions
Jun 15th, 2018 by Massimo

Burger King workers at several cities in New Zealand are balloting for industrial action following striking after a strike ballot for higher pay and better rights at work following a year of negotiations between Unite Union and the fast food chain. The union is considering expanding the strikes following the company’s failure to attend mediation talks for three weeks.

According to Unite Union national secretary Gerard Hehir Burger King workers are among the lowest paid workers in the fast food industry. Store managers are on NZD 16.88 per hour, 38 cents above the minimum wage, and workers on salaries are expected to do excessive hours of unpaid overtime. Managers at McDonald’s get the living wage (NZD 20.55 as set by the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand) and those employed by KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks earn “NZD 23, NZD 24, NZD 25 an hour”, Hehir said.

In addition to paying workers “significantly” less than Wendy’s and McDonald’s, Burger King also had “a lot” of health and safety issues, Hehir said.

Unite Union has 500 Burger King members, around 40 per cent of its workforce.

New Zealand: Unite says McDonald’s is cheating workers of their holiday entitlements
Jun 13th, 2018 by Massimo

New Zealand IUF-affiliated Unite Union has accused McDonald’s of deliberately denying many workers their legal entitlement for working a public holiday as determined by the Holidays Act.

In 2015, Unite wrote to the company questioning how they calculated annual leave and asking them to comply with New Zealand law. McDonald’s rejected the union’s claim that they were denying workers their legal entitlements. Unite took their case to the Employment Relations Authority, the body charged with determining such disputes. In 2017 McDonald’s   was inspected by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment over non-compliance with the Holidays Act. Unite then made an urgent wage and time record request to the company to obtain the information needed to provide the Ministry with evidence that the company was routinely denying entitlement.

The union assessed that on average each McDonald’s worker did not receive their public holiday entitlement at least twice a year at a value of approximately NZD 150 for each worker. Nine thousands workers were affected making a savings to the company of over NZD 1M through cheating workers of their legal entitlements.

McDonald’s was not the only fast food operator to incorrectly apply the Holidays Act. At the end of 2017, New Zealand’s Employment Relations Authority ruled on a case brought by the Labour Inspector against Wendy’s following a complaint from a Unite member. Unite National Director Mike Treen commented that “This legal case last year against Wendy’s confirmed that the formula that was being used by that company and had been used for many years by McDonald’s was wrong in determining ‘what was an otherwise working day’ which is the legal basis for earning lieu days or pay for a public holiday.”

Unite has a long history of fighting for the rights of fast food workers in New Zealand.

McDonald’s new menu: less transparency, more tax havens
Jun 2nd, 2018 by Massimo

EFFAT-IUF, EPSU and SEIU have released a report on McDonald’s new tax practices, focusing on the company’s use of tax avoidance mechanisms in Europe and low-tax jurisdictions and havens around the world. The report shows how the company rejigged its tax structure in the midst of an EU tax probe the day after the UK voted for Brexit.

In February 2015, a coalition of European and American trade unions unveiled a report on McDonald’s deliberate avoidance of over EUR 1 billion in corporate taxes in Europe between 2009 and 2013. Three years later, the update “Unhappier meal” shows how McDonald’s has significantly modified its corporate structure since the European Commission began investigating its tax dealings with Luxembourg, with the result that it is now even less transparent and more reliant on well-known tax-havens. The Unhappy Meal report outlined in detail the tax avoidance strategy adopted by McDonald’s and its fiscal impact across Europe and in major markets like France, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Since the European Commission launched its state aid probe, McDonald’s has moved from Luxembourg to Delaware in the USA using a myriad of intermediate companies in Singapore, Hong Kong and the UK while making use of companies in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Guernsey. The new corporate structure is so opaque that the new tax base cannot be determined. The system does not allow for public scrutiny of the companies’ accounts, including taxes owed and paid.

SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz said: “It’s clear that McDonald’s will do whatever it takes to hide its abusive tax practices from public scrutiny. McDonald’s tax avoidance is just one example of how the company inflates its profits at the expense of everyone else, including workers, consumers and taxpayers. We urge the European Commission to vigilantly investigate McDonald’s continued tax avoidance and hold the company accountable for the damage done by its misconduct.”

UK McDonald’s workers will celebrate International Workers’ Day on strike
Apr 25th, 2018 by Massimo

On May 1, 2018, McDonald’s workers in London, UK, will hold their second strike. The first ever strike by UK McDonald’s workers took place on September 4, 2017, IUF International Fast Food Workers’ Day, in support of demands for a minimum hourly rate of £ 10 (USD 13), an end to zero-hour contracts, and union rights and recognition. The second strike has the same demands.

Earlier this year UK McDonald’s announced it would increase wages for all workers in directly-owned restaurants. The IUF-affiliated BFAWU welcomed the raise as a demonstration that workers can win when they stand together.

Philippines: RESPECT calls for wider application of government order making thousands of fast food workers permanent
Apr 10th, 2018 by Massimo

The Respect Fast Food Workers’ Alliance (RESPECT) won an important partial victory in their long-running campaign for fast food workers’ rights to secure jobs when the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on April 3 ordered Jollibee to convert 6,400 casual workers to direct, permanent employment.

RESPECT, while welcoming the order, is demanding its immediate implementation and calling for it to be applied more widely to both company-owned and franchised outlets and to all fast food chains, including McDonald’s.

Thousands of fast food workers in the Philippines are employed through labour hire agencies on multiple contracts for several years. These precarious arrangements and ease of termination prevent workers from challenging delayed wages, unfair deductions and wage theft.

Germany: union support for food delivery workers fighting for rights in the ‘platform economy’
Apr 10th, 2018 by Massimo

The German Food and Allied Workers (NGG) are giving strong support to bicycle couriers fighting for their rights at the food delivery ‘platforms’ Foodora  and Deliveroo, who together employ over 4,000 workers in dozens of cities.

Foodora workers in Cologne joined the NGG and formed a works council last year; they were joined by Deliveroo workers in February 2018. Delivery workers are hired on short-term contracts or as bogus ‘self-employed’. They are compelled to pay their own sickness and accident insurance as well as the cost of their bicycles and safety equipment, which leaves their hourly compensation below the national minimum wage. They receive no compensation for waiting time and no compensation for accidents at work. The companies have responded to worker organizing by reducing the number of directly employed couriers and by impeding the functioning of the works council, including by refusing to renew the contracts of militant activists.

A day of national action against exploitation, precarious work and union-busting at Deliveroo is planned for April 13.

McDonald’s workers in the UK earn the biggest pay rise in 10 years
Jan 9th, 2018 by Massimo

UK McDonald’s has announced it will increase wages as of January 22 for all workers in directly-owned restaurants, about a quarter of the company’s restaurants in Britain. The IUF-affiliated BFAWU, whose members took strike action on September 4, welcomed the raise as a demonstration that workers can win when they stand together.

BFAWU members took strike action in support of their demands for better wages, union recognition and an end to zero-hours contracts and McDonald’s culture of bullying.

“Our members are still demanding a real contract of employment a minimum wage for all of at least £10 and an end to the culture of bullying and harassment in the workplace”, said BFAWU National President Ian Hodson.

First-ever strikes at UK McDonald’s on International Fast Food Workers’ Day
Sep 5th, 2017 by Massimo

McDonalds’ workers at two restaurants in Southeast London, UK, walked off the job in support of their demands on September 4, IUF International Fast Food Workers’ Day – the first ever strike by UK McDonald’s workers. Organized by the IUF affiliated Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), McDonalds’ workers are demanding a GBP 10 (USD 13), an end to zero-hour contracts and union rights and recognition.

BFAWU_0

In April 2017, UK McDonalds promised guaranteed-hours contracts to all employees who wanted them. However, the BFAWU claims that workers at most stores were told nothing about this until the strike was announced.

FastFoodALBA

Arbeit Workers’ Union members in Korea.

The same day, fast food workers around the globe joined the fourth IUF International Fast Food Workers’ Day with actions to show collective determination to fight poor working conditions and win better wages and union rights.

Some of the many actions are visible on McJobs Facebook group or through the hashtag #FastFooodGlobal, #McStrike and #Fightfor15.

FastFoodCongress

The IUF World congress, meeting in Geneva August 29-September 1, expressed its solidarity with fast food workers taking action in the UK, US and around the world.

Now recognized, Arbeit Workers’ Union starts negotiations with McDonald’s Korea
Jul 18th, 2017 by Massimo

On April 11, 2017 McDonald’s Korea announced the recognition of IUF affiliate Arbeit Workers’ Union as the collective bargaining representative for McDonald’s workers. The union formally established a McDonald’s chapter in November 2016.

A first meeting was held on June 16, and a second one is scheduled for July 21 during which parties will discuss ground rules. After this first step, Arbeit Workers’ Union will submit the list of demands and negotiation for the first collective agreement will formally start.

Placards say from left “Collective Bargaining Start”, “First Collective Barganing in Asia”, “No more individual distress, Yes to Collective Bargaining”, and “McJob to be a Good Job”

Gains in new collective agreement for fast food workers in New Zealand
Jul 13th, 2017 by Massimo

The IUF-affiliated Unite Union has reached agreement with Restaurant Brands, the company which manages KFC, Starbucks, Carls Jr and Pizza Hut, on a new two-year collective agreement which has been approved by 98% of its members.

The agreement comes after strike action in April in response to the company’s refusal to increase wages above the national minimum wage. Key improvements include: wages above the minimum wage for all Restaurant Brands employees; provision to offer vacant shifts to existing staff; a working party to review the vacant shift processes; weekly rosters with fixed and vacant shifts will be published in each store; elected health and safety representatives; and up to two weeks additional payment for redundancy.

The union recently reached a similar agreement with McDonald’s.

More information and the full terms of settlement are available on Unite Union website

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