KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr workers strike for pay rise

  • 22/04/2017

About 2000 fast-food workers went on strike at restaurants across the country after rejecting proposed pay increases from Restaurant Brands.

Half of Restaurant Brands New Zealand's 4000-strong workforce went on strike after negotiations for a new collective agreement broke down. The company operates KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks Coffee franchises in New Zealand.

Union members picketed selected KFC stores in Auckland, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin at lunch time on Saturday.

On Thursday Restaurant Brands announced a $26 million profit, and its chief executive was awarded a $1 million bonus.

"While Restaurant Brands have been paying huge bonuses and dividends and buying up large overseas, their workers are overworked and underpaid," Unite national secretary Gerard Hehir said when the strike was announced.

The union also wants increases over three years that will move shift supervisors, skilled and experienced staff towards a living wage.

Restaurant Brands said in a statement it was disappointed at the strike action.

"Of the major employers in the fast food sector, Restaurant Brands already leads the sector for guaranteed days and hours of permanent work and security of pay," Restaurant Brands CEO Russel Creedy said.

"As opposed to McDonald's offer to increase entry level staff to $0.30 cents above Adult Minimum Wage in three years' time, our proposal is to move them now - paying $0.10c above the Adult Minimum Wage at entry, then after 5 weeks increase by $0.20c, then after 10 weeks increase another $0.20c per hour."

Unite national director Mike Treen told BusinessDesk his members haven't had a strike at Restaurant Brands since 2006.

The union will have pickets at KFC Balmoral in Auckland, Rotorua KFC, KFC Rangitikei Street in Palmerston North, Kent Tce KFC in Wellington, KFC Hornby in Christchurch and KFC Dunedin North.