Union protesters clash with Burger King
Sun, 19 Aug 2012 9:43a.m.
A union meeting today is set to discuss working conditions at fast food giant Burger King, including allegations that the company says it will vigorously defend.
The Unite Union has filed legal proceedings with the Employment Relations Authority, accusing Burger King of denying workers their rights by keeping them on minimum wages and exploiting migrant workers.
National director Mike Treen claims the company is also carrying out a campaign to force people to resign from the Unite Union, saying 200 people have been compelled to quit in the past three months.
"This was done through bullying and pressure. In some cases people were kept in a room for an hour or more and in other cases they were told they would not ever get promoted at Burger King," says Mr Treen.
"This has gone beyond normal relationships between a union and a company."
But Burger King says statements made by the union are incorrect and misleading and seem to be part of its own concerted campaign against the company.
Protesters clash with Burger King
Crowds have gathered outside an Auckland Burger King to protest against working conditions.
Unite Union says staff at the fast food chain have been threatened over their union membership.
Inside the Queen St branch, people are eating burgers and fries, but their conversation is battling against the rallying call from outside.
More than 50 people have gathered to call for better wages and improved conditions.
Nineteen-year-old Lynette Fray says she was bullied and even physically assaulted while working at Burger King.
“It’s been hell,” she says. “I’ve had nothing but trouble for six months straight – bullying, threatening. I just can’t wait to leave.”
The Unite Unions says the fast food chain purposefully takes on students and migrant workers so they can always pay the minimum wage.
Burger King has confirmed that proceedings have been filed by the Employment Relations Authority, but says it concerns union membership, and not allegations of "exploitation" or "abuse".
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20/08/2012 4:52:38 p.m.
RENEE..It's by no means mostly the so-called loud mouthed workers that become involved in work & union related problems, but often the shy, quiet & submissive types who are easy & vulnerable targets for unscrupulous bosses.
20/08/2012 4:01:15 p.m.
I think Mike has lost his mind trying to compare police & security being beaten & burned to death, & hardly anything like the Burger King situation, & I'm sure the unions would love to be able to start working with businesses for the benefit of workers & business.
Also Burger King has been very successful so can afford to pay more.
20/08/2012 8:28:06 a.m.
If there was an assault, lay a police charge for the assault. Thats what we have laws for.The union parasite unite? Well they have demonstrated mob tactics not much better than the striking miners that beat 2 police to death and burned 2 security alive as part of their 'union action' which lead to the shooting/killing of 16 miners.Yep, unions are so good at working together - NOT!In a job one expects a job done. If that job isn't done then how does one encourage it to be done? Today people will take offense at the slightest thing. Some will take offence at being told they are not doing a job well enough.Yes there are problem bosses. But if take a multinational like BurgerKing or Macdonalds, they even have proceedures for reporting over zealous bosses.The union is a parasite looking only towards collecting their chunk of hard earned wages so they can make a lot of noise, much like a baby shaking a rattle.How does protesting outside a burgerking help? It will drive customers away possibly costing jobs. The standard union playbook costs jobs.Unions need to stop costing jobs, and start working together with businesses for the benefit of workers and business. If the business is more sucessful, then it can afford to pay more. If the bussiness is less sucesful, it can afford to pay less. The union playbook is all targeted at making businesses less sucessful and costing workers!
19/08/2012 10:08:14 p.m.
this is so funny. i just finished work. i work at burger king. first we dont get paid enough, it is a hard job. have to be fast,always on your feet, you cant just go sit down because your tired. i work 5 days a week, 11am to 9pm. i love my job. im one of the best at what i do. I take pride in that. Always wanting to better myself and my work members around me. i love the pressure and yea sure there's definitly alot of changes that need to happen but in this case union have no idea of whats happening. this is just a group of people trying to pick a fight.
19/08/2012 8:58:51 p.m.
We shall overcome wrote:
A strong union movement is ESSENTIAL for ensuring fair workers' rights. The decline in the union movement in NZ has gone hand in hand with a decline in workers' rights. NZ workers need strong unions if they want to prevent unscrupulous employers walking all over them.
19/08/2012 8:17:33 p.m.
Hmmm. Seems like the reporter is focusing on select cases and not taking into consideration the opinions of crew who would disagree with the very blanketed allegations. I like working at BK, and that's because we have awesome crew and managers at our restaurant. Like every single other work and union related problem, it's only ever very few people involved, with very loud mouths. They make it sound like every BK worker is taken advantage of and that's not the case...
19/08/2012 6:33:57 p.m.
We are free to choose our jobs David..But not free to resign from; how will we pay our bills, rents and help out in the running of our homes if we all start resigning. There comes a point where we have to stop injustice...Just resigning and walking away like a coward is not done...
19/08/2012 6:07:05 p.m.
David's over simplistic argument shows he has missed the point, & although what he has said in itself is true the employer does not have the right to abuse & intimidate any workers during that workers employ.
19/08/2012 5:49:46 p.m.
Burger King is lucky that I am not one of the workers alledgedly threatened with further intimidation if they joined the unite workers protest action, & there is no way Burger King can win this one, all power to the workers & their union.
19/08/2012 5:15:44 p.m.
Chris Rigby wrote:
@ David. You're also free to organise in unions at your job to make it better. No excuses from Tories.
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