Fast food strikes around the country have continued – less than a week after Wendy’s workers picketed their employers, Burger King workers are doing the same.
Strikes in Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch and Wellington over the weekend were in protest of Burger King’s reluctance to negotiate for higher pay and better work rights, a process which has been ongoing for a year.
Burger King workers are among the lowest paid fast food workers in the country, according to Unite Union national secretary Gerard Hehir. Store managers are on $16.88 an hour – 38 cents above minimum wage – and are expected to do unpaid overtime hours.
“If they work an hour or an hour and a half overtime, which is quite common, then they’re actually working for less than the minimum wage,” Hehir said.
“These are managers, people running the stores and managing other staff, and they are getting paid less than the minimum wage. Someone at KFC in the same position would be getting $24 an hour so there’s a huge gap.”
Burger King had refused to attend mediation meetings for three weeks, prompting the strike action.
“They are offering 2 cents extra an hour for maintenance crew and team trainers, they are expected to do all the other things but for 2 cents extra an hour are expected to train crew and to do all the additional maintenance work.”
In a statement, a Burger Kings spokesperson said that the chain had already “”taken the step to pay all employees above minimum wage.”
“Burger King still remains bargaining in good faith with Unite Union and it is very disappointing that Unite Union have opted to take industrial action whilst this process is underway.”