Strikes avoided as NZ ends zero-hour contracts at McDonald's

McDonald's and Unite Union in New Zealand have reached an agreement that will see the end of zero hour contracts.

Workers at the fast-food chain will be guaranteed 80 per cent of the average hours worked over a three-month period.

Unite National Director Mike Treen called the agreement "historic".

"Now all the of the major fast food chains have committed to ending zero hours. This is the culmination of a decade long campaign for secure hours by Unite Union," he said.

"It will be welcomed tens of thousands of workers in the fast food industry and hundreds thousands more who will ultimately benefit in other industries. It represents a fundamental shift in the employment relationship of the most vulnerable workers in the country."

Planned strikes at McDonald's stores around the country have been called off, but some planned gatherings would still go ahead as a "victory celebration".

Mr Treen said the agreement hadn't been finalised but the union was convinced "there is good will on both sides" and a spokesman for McDonald's said security of hours would be included in the collective agreement.

"We know that having security of hours is important to our people, which is why on April 13 we announced that a guarantee of hours would be formally written into our employment agreements," the spokesman said.

"Since April 13 we have been working through the technical detail with Unite, along with other elements of the agreement.

From 1 October 2015, all McDonald's employees will be offered 80 per cent security of hours, up to a 32 hour weekly cap, based on the average of the previous fixed quarterly worked hours."

Mr Treen said the union thanked the public for their support in this fight.

Unite called on the government to turn this decision into law for other workers in the country.


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