11 Oct 2016

Guaranteed fast-food hours 'heaps better for planning'

8:49 pm on 11 October 2016

A mother of two who has worked in the fast-food industry for 14 years says a new agreement giving them fully guaranteed hours is a huge victory.

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Photo: 123rf.com

Fast-food workers across the country are celebrating after Unite Union reached a new collective agreement with Restaurant Brands - which owns the KFC and Pizza Hut brands - after it scrapped zero-hour contracts last year.

Restaurant Brands employs about 4000 people at 181 fast-food restaurants in New Zealand.

The new agreement guarantees both hours and fixed shifts.

Debbie Higgins, who has worked at KFC for 14 years, said knowing how her hours were structured from week to week would mean she could better plan her daily life.

"I also have two children, so with their commitments, my work commitments, it's total chaos some days and some nights.

"I will physically be able to organise my life knowing that I'm at work at these times and not at these times - heaps better for planning."

Unite Union is taking the fast-food chains Burger King and McDonald's to the Employment Relations Authority, saying they would not comply with a guaranteed hours contract reached last year after zero-hour contracts were scrapped.

Olivia, who worked for McDonald's, said it felt unfair and "very stressful".

"Being a student and being young it's very hard to base your life around McDonald's - it doesn't work. People need that certainty in life so they can at least live their lives."

The government passed legislation in March to ban so-called zero-hour contracts, which required workers to be available for work without an agreement giving them guaranteed hours.

It gave businesses 12 months to make the required changes.

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