Workers at Restaurant Brands Ltd were told yesterday that they would not be paid for any loss of hours due to the polar blast that hit the shores of Aotearoa on Monday 15th August. The once in a 40 year event has left thousands of workers at KFC, Starbucks and Pizza Hut operated by RBL out of pocket and angry as this was the second time in as many weeks that there was no work due to natural events. Last month when Otautahi and the Canterbury plains was covered in snow the company refused to pay the staff for a day of lost earnings. Unite Union, that represents thousands of RBL’s workers, had demanded an explanation three weeks previously –  the union was still waiting for a response when the skies opened up again.

This time Unite changed tact and went directly to the media.

“When we woke up on Monday morning  15th August we found cities, airports and businesses closed. By midday I sent out a press release demanding RBL pay their workers.” Matt Jones, Unite Organiser for Christchurch and Beyond Resistance member.

“Unite Union says it’s infuriated workers at one of New Zealand’s biggest companies won’t get paid for hours lost during this week’s snow storm, despite the company boasting a $25 million profit in the last financial year…” Full article here

The national media followed the story throughout the day and by the early evening Restaurant Brands responded:

“Almost all workers will now receive pay, we will seek reimbursement for last months losses, thousands of union members will be celebrating this small victory while tens of thousands of other workers will feel more confident to stand up to their bosses when it comes to negotiating their pay during this uncertain time.” Matt Jones.