Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 28 August 2013

Unionise to fight zero-hour contracts!

A KFC worker
Sick of Your Boss? Youth Fight for Jobs campaigning, photo Nancy Taaffe

Sick of Your Boss? Youth Fight for Jobs campaigning, photo Nancy Taaffe   (Click to enlarge)

I started working for the fast food restaurant Kentucky Fried Chicken nine months ago. I had left my job in a supermarket, where I was a workplace rep, to find a full-time job, not being able to get by on 16 hours a week and with no chance of finding a full-time contract there.

Eventually I found this job at KFC. At KFC a full-time contract is supposed to mean 20 hours a week minimum, which isn't great by any stretch but it was more than I was getting at the supermarket.

For a time there was not much to complain about, I was averaging 20 to 40 hours a week. If anything my complaint would have been about the irregular hours but, on a mere 6.19 an hour, at least I was earning just about enough to get by.

Everything changed when the store began to get less busy. Suddenly full-time workers found ourselves given 16 hours some weeks, and some were getting one shift a week or none! Some part-time workers were not even getting their contracted four hours a week.

I decided to challenge my manager on this issue. I knew full well that I had no back up - KFC is a non-unionised company, and unfortunately we aren't yet at the stage of some American fast food workers who have been taking strike action for a $15 an hour living wage and the right to unionise.

I received a mouthful of abuse from my manager and was told that if I had read my contract properly I would have noticed the fine print which allows the company to adjust its workers' hours to business needs.

This is a way for KFC to use zero-hour contracts while putting their hands on their hearts and saying they don't.

Perhaps the most explicit confession came from another manager when I asked what was the difference between a full-time contract and a part-time contract if workers aren't guaranteed the minimum hours stated. The manager replied that there is no difference and "it's just a way in which they can use and abuse you"!

What is needed in KFC and similar companies to defend workers and ensure real contracts with guaranteed hours, is a major campaign of unionisation.

We need to build a fighting union that will campaign for solid contracts and a living wage of 10 an hour, using methods of industrial action if necessary.

Strong workplace organisation would also be the best way to tackle unfair dismissals, bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Are we sick of our boss? You better believe it!

See also:

Feature: Nothing new at Sports Direct

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 28 August 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Stop cuts - Demand united action

Lobbying bill: don't let this Tory dream come true

The trial of Chelsea Manning

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

No to imperialist intervention in Syria

Egypt: al-Sisi's military tightens its grip on power

Socialist Party feature

"I have a dream" - 50th anniversary of march

'Youth Fight for Jobs' campaigning

Unionise to fight zero-hour contracts!

Nothing new at Sports Direct

Socialist Party workplace news

One Housing Group workers go into battle again

Unison: Tiny margin against Scottish local government strike

Coventry postal workers fight bullying management

The role of a workers' rep

Workplace In Brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fighting mood at meeting to defend Whipps Cross Hospital

Wales' Mid-Staffs crisis

Support the DPAC week of action

Carlisle - Building the anti-bedroom tax fightback

Arrest Cuadrilla bosses - not fracking protesters!

Socialist Party camp

Socialist Party reviews

Film review: Elysium - an 'allegory for class warfare'

Exhibition review: Lowry's one track vision


Home   |   The Socialist 28 August 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Zero-hour contracts:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleCapitalism and human progress

triangleUsdaw elections announced - fight for a left leadership, vote for Amy Murphy

triangleMcStrike against low pay

triangleYoung people...fight for a future, fight for socialist policies


triangleWe're freezing: reverse cuts to boiler replacement schemes!

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

triangleFood processing workers vote for action against miserly bosses


triangleWhat would a socialist food industry look like?

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents



Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell



Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos



Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts



Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated



Bradford campaign to save children's services launched


South London

South London health bosses' cover-up



Unite day of action against blacklisting



Brighton victory



Newham anti-academies strikes


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting



Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout



Unite protest against blacklisting



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice