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Current as of 22/12/14 01:40PM NZST

KFC staff to strike

Workers at Auckland's Balmoral KFC will strike for two hours next Saturday to protest low youth pay rates.

Unite Union organiser Simon Oosterman said KFC youth workers, who earned as little as $7.13 an hour, were among those who voted to strike at the store, which recently underwent a million-dollar refurbishment.

"The Restaurant Brands contract offer included no pay rise and no removal of youth rates despite the companies intention to upgrade 98 KFC stores throughout New Zealand," Mr Oosterman said.

"The strike will highlight the exploitation of youth workers in KFC and throughout New Zealand, whose pay is 'downsized' solely based on their age despite doing the same work as other workers."

Fastfood chains were the highest youth employers in New Zealand, and 60 per cent of Balmoral store staff were under 18 years of age, he said.

KFC staff have a starting rate of $9.50 for 18 years and over, $8.55 for 17 year olds, $8.08 for 16 year olds and $7.13 for 15 year olds.

The New Zealand minimum wage for 18 years and over is $9.50, $7.60 for 16-17 year olds and there is no youth rate for 15 year olds.

"It doesn't matter what your age is, any wage below $12 is a poverty wage," Mr Oosterman said.

The strike follows action at two Starbucks coffee shops last week in a quest to get a minimum of $12 an hour for all staff.

In New Zealand, both Starbucks and KFC are owned by Restaurant Brands.

- NZPA

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