News from Unite Union
McDonald’s workers protested on Lambton Quay today with the message “Give us a break” because they claim that they are being cheated of their breaks by the company.
Unite Union National Director Mike Treen says that workers often miss their breaks or are rostered meal breaks an hour after they start work in violation of the existing law on breaks.
“We have filed a case with the Employment Relations Authority over one aspect of this. We have evidence that the company rostered workers for four hour shifts but worked them longer than four hours without providing a meal break. This is a clear breach of the law. In addition they company has breached the worker collective agreement because they also haven’t compensated the workers for he lost break as required by the contract.
A mediation session between McDonald’s and Unite is scheduled tomorrow on this issue.
“We estimate the workers have been cheated of at least $2.5 million dollars.
“We have the wage and time records for two stores covering a four month period. The evidence is clear. Now the company is refusing to give us wage and time records for all ours members to hide their misconduct which we believe is another violation of the law.
“A worker at McDonald’s will be sacked for putting an extra slice of bacon on a burger. Who in the company is being held accountable for stealing millions of dollars out of the pockets of minimum wage workers?
“The government’s plan to change the breaks law will only make the situation worse. If a major multinational employing thousand of vulnerable young and migrant workers can snub its nose at the law on breaks then what can we expect to happen at smaller workplaces in the country.
Actions were also expected in Auckland, Dunedin and Blenheim.