Workers from a number of major fast food chains are expected to take strike action tomorrow after the Restaurant Brands conglomerate was unable to reach an agreement with union representatives.
“Yesterday Restaurant Brands announced profits of $26 million and they have paid their CEO a million-dollar bonus,” said Unite national secretary Gerard Hehir, upon announcing the strike. “Tomorrow the workers who actually make and sell their products have to go on strike to get a few cents above the minimum wage.
According to Hehir, Restaurant Brands has rejected a “very modest” proposal for an annual pay rise of 10 cents an hour above the minimum wage for the next three years. The deal would mean the lowest paid workers would earn 30 cents an hour above the minimum wage by 2019.
The union also wants shift supervisors and skilled staff who are able to run stores independently to get increases over three years that will move them towards the Living Wage.
“These are not school kids. They are qualified and experienced workers who can run a store on their own: managing staff, managing a retail store and a food production facility,” said Hehir. “They deserve a Living Wage and Restaurant Brands can afford to pay them a Living Wage.”
KFC workers are among those set to strike tomorrow and Hehir suggested the fast-food chain showed signs of gender discriminatory pay practices.
Last year the company gave cooks – who are mostly men – an extra $2.50 an hour allowance without boosting the pay of supervisors, who are mostly women. This means supervisors now earn less than cooks, despite being more qualified with greater responsibilities.
“We think the new pay equity processes may apply and we are gathering information to begin that process,” said Hehir. Other issues in the dispute centre on the company providing one week’s notice and declining to offer any redundancy pay.
Workers from Pizza Hut, Carls Jr and Starbucks are all set to join KFC staff at tomorrow’s strike.
HRM contracted Restaurant Brands for comment for requests were not returned by the time of publication.
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