Target: Alexandre Behring, Chairman of Burger King’s Board of Directors
Goal: Stop hiring workers under exploitative zero-hour contracts
In the United Kingdom, the Guardian recently exposed Burger King for employing all of its 20,000 workers on zero-hour contracts. These controversial contracts leave workers with no guaranteed number of hours of work each week, leaving the majority of their low-paid workers completely vulnerable to the whims of their employers. Please demand that Burger King UK require franchises to provide greater job security to their workforce.
Under zero-hour contracts, schedules are decided a week beforehand, but can be changed by management at any time. These contracts create an intimidating work environment, in which all the power rests with the employer. Workers can be sent home earlier than the end of their shift if business is slow. Back in 1999, the fast food chain was mandated to compensate workers ₤106,000 because employees were forced to clock off and be on unpaid stand-by in the stores until business picked up.
A Burger King spokeswoman issued a statement saying that because Burger King UK is a franchisee-only operated business, they have no control over hiring policies and that the choice for employers to engage workers in a zero-hour contract is “at the discretion of the franchisee. Burger King continues to ensure that staff welfare is a top priority.” But if this statement is true, then Burger King should know that zero-hour contracts leave workers at the mercy of their employers, and can be manipulated to the point of becoming a modern form of serfdom. Tell Burger King to commit to their statement and make franchises engage in fairer contracts with their employees.
Dear Burger King Board of Directors Chairman, Alexandre Behring,
The news publication, The Guardian recently reported that all 20,000 of your company’s non-management workforce in the United Kingdom have been hired under zero-hour contracts. These contracts are heavily criticized as a kind of contemporary serfdom in which employees work for, usually, low wages for an unguaranteed amount of hours per week. They are essentially bound to management with no security of their post. Please alter the rules that your franchises must follow so that the majority of workers are hired under a contract that provides a guaranteed amount of hours each week.
With this new information, the number of workers hired in just the private sector on zero-hour contracts has now reached 180,000 in the United Kingdom. Even though there are those who benefit from zero-hour contracts, they are in the minority. These statistics make it clear that the practice is too widespread amongst the most vulnerable of workers, the low-paid service sector.
With such a big name like Burger King, workers should expect to be treated fairly and be provided with security in the form of a set amount of hours each week. Even though Burger King stores in the United Kingdom are operated solely by the franchise owner, there are responsible measures that your company can take to ensure that workers are secure in their employment. We, the undersigned, ask you to take action now.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Smial via Wikimedia Commons