Restaurant Brands staff to go on first strike in a decade

Unite Union national director Mike Treen
rbdadd to my Stocks
RBD Restaurant Brands
$6.400
-0.040 -0.629%
Volume: 104,959

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)


18 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

Post Comment

18 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

You can argue the logic of the perato priciple however when a ceo gets paid a million dollar bonus for is essentially their job it's not unreasonable for staff to ask for a 10c payrise over the next 3 years, emotion will beat logic here and restaurant brands should avoid the loss of income and damage to the brand by paying the increase

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Its 10c above the minimum wage which already increases every year (above inflation currently too). That will then used to to leverage right across the staff to maintain parity.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Or in short, it's one of the things that's so wrong with the world these days. CEOs giving themselves millions, while at the same time giving their workforce as little as possible. Will it ever change?

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

But CEO's don't pay themselves millions, their pay is set by an independent remuneration committee, which reports to the board of directors.

CEOs tend to get paid significantly more than unskilled workers because the value a good executive can add to an organisation can have significant and long lasting benefits. The same just can't be said for an unskilled worker.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 1

In reply to your first paragraph. In short, you rub my back then I'll rub yours. Independent RC, give me a break.
Your second.. hang on a bit until I stop laughing. Again in short.. you've been brainwashed into believing something that's been spun to you. There's an old saying, don't believe everything your told is the truth.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

As a shareholder of the Company, I totally agree with Anonymous.
If it is good enough for the Big Mac, it is good enough for KFC and the other three members of the Group in my view.
We are all entitled to a fair go, and without the 4,000 workers, less management, we would not have a Company to invest in, and enjoy nice financial returns.
Directors and Management do not be so bloody minded.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

As a long time shareholder message to the Board and Russell. Its 2017 guys not 1977. Pay up and get on with the job. We have had excellent returns from the efforts of all of the Team. Good Corporate Culture is the future to continuing success.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Same old cycle -- pay the CEO a king's ransom and his serfs a pittance

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

As a shareholder, I'm opposed to even negotiating with a militant union. Get lost, get a job elsewhere, as a low skilled employee you are a commodity and in plentiful supply

RBD management is top quality and deserves every cent!!

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 1

Your a bit of a heartless person aren't you.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

You seem to have little gumption of the importance of those dealing directly with customers, the impression they leave and the correlation to success, I feel envigorated when expericing great customer service from an engaged employee, it speaks volumes and represents a business I want to engage with.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

umm, I'm not sure if the low paid semi skilled workers are in plentiful supply, and i recall a media release less than 5 weeks ago from RBD whining about how hard it was to fill vacancies in some of the outlets.So maybe, just maybe a wage rise could be a positive move.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Old Mike Treen. I worked at the same job as him back in 1988. He had us all out on strike in no time at all. After he left we all happily went back to work. Moving on to 2017, I see nothing much as changed, he's got them all out on strike again. He's not very good at negotiating with management because hates them so much. But as with all jobs, some have bad management, and some have good management. He seems to hate them all equally. Unfortunately it's the workers that lose money every-time they strike, not the union boys. They don't seem to take that into account.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I watched the strikers on the news last night having a good old time, laughing and joking and whatnot. Well enjoy the moment because you won't be laughing on payday. Personally I think that going back to the negotiating table would have been a better option than just going out on strike. Striking should be the absolute last resort action taken, ahead of all other options.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Clearly the above comments show just what a divided race we are in NZ.
Talk about the haves and the have nots.
Someone who gets a million dollar bonus on top of the six figure salary he earns, seem to get some support, against those on the minimum wage.
My calculations show a three year increase for most of the workers would cost less than the CEO's bonus.
No wonder people around the world are voting they way they are, USA, UK, France and who knows how this will turn out in NZ later in the year.
Has fairness deserted some of you replaced by greed.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

It's Definitely all about greed these days. Some people are out to get as much as they can. In Upper hutt where I live the council CEO is being paid $250k a year to manage a small place with only a little over 40.000 people living in it, and this is only one example of an extravagant salary being paid to a person that only 20 or so years ago would have been known as a town clerk being paid $60k. I'll bet this is happening in every town in the country, and why is it happening, because they have to power to make it happen. I for one can't wait for the govt to start regulating these city councils. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for it to happen anytime soon.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Ivan, I commend your comparison with Council's Town Clerks and CEO's, or at least I think that is your theme.
Albeit the salary you quote is somewhat less than the RB Salary bands.
The point I am making re greed is not the 10 cents an hour which will cause financial instability within our Company, but the massive salaries and bonuses being paid to management.
If the strike causes undue hardship to those that are left to serve the customers, who turn off and go to one of the other quick food retailers......
who will be to blame .. the workers of course in the eyes of the well off.
I am afraid we live in a world today where the rich do get richer and expect to.. and the less fortunate get less and are merely seeking some compensation to stay afloat.
I am not a bleeding heart lefty, but believe in a fair go for all.
Give the RB employees a fair go, is that too much to ask.?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

In this day and age, it would seem that it is.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7312 0.0001 0.01%
AUD 0.9217 -0.0004 -0.04%
EUR 0.6216 -0.0001 -0.02%
GBP 0.5680 0.0001 0.02%
HKD 5.7197 0.0001 0.00%
JPY 79.9420 0.1220 0.15%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1284.3 -3.280 2017-08-18T00:
Oil Brent 52.4 1.780 2017-08-18T00:
Oil Nymex 48.6 1.490 2017-08-18T00:
Silver Index 17.0 -0.050 2017-08-18T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 7870.1 7873.6 7870.1 0.04%
NASDAQ 6222.5 6254.2 6221.9 -0.09%
DAX 12103.5 12178.1 12203.5 -0.31%
DJI 21724.9 21793.3 21750.7 -0.35%
FTSE 7387.9 7387.9 7387.9 -0.86%
HKSE 26999.6 27236.3 27344.2 -1.08%
NI225 19471.3 19543.1 19702.6 -1.18%
ASX 5779.2 5779.2 5779.2 -0.56%