By Adam Pearse
Palmerston North was one of many centres around New Zealand that experienced a delay in their Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) orders on Saturday 22 April.
Along with KFC, members of the Restaurant Brands family, such as Carls Junior, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks held a day long strike to protest workers’ wages, demanding an increase.
The day prior, Unite National Secretary, Gerard Hehir, said that while the management of Restaurant Brands were earning millions of dollars in profit, workers would be striking to increase their wages by mere cents.
“Yesterday Restaurant Brands announced profits of $26 million and they have paid their CEO a million-dollar bonus.
“Tomorrow the workers who actually make and sell their products have to go on strike to get a few cents above the minimum wage.”
“This is a stark example of the growing gap between rich and poor and Unite Union members at Restaurant Brands are taking action to close the gap a little bit. While Restaurant Brands have been paying huge bonuses and dividends and buying up large overseas, their workers are overworked and underpaid,” said Hehir.
Restaurant Brands has rejected a proposal from the union for a rise of 10 cents an hour each year over three years above the minimum wage movement for the lowest paid workers. This will take to take their pay to 30 cents an hour above the minimum wage by 2019.
In a statement by Restaurant Brands, CEO Russel Creedy said that he was disappointed in the actions of the staff and claimed his company has always been ahead of the pack when it comes to fair working conditions.
“The overall package of terms and conditions of our employees is better than our competitors in the sector and includes a faster pathway for new employees to increase their pay rates.”
As no agreement was reached, more strike action has not been ruled out.