Pizza Hut employees will be paid proper fast food industry award rates, including increased penalty rates, after 30 year-old expired workplace agreements were terminated by the Fair Work Commission.
The fast food chain is the latest business to have its so called ‘zombie’ agreements terminated, which had allowed it to legally pay workers well below current modern award rates.
Pizza Hut has been paying low wages for too long
The announcement was welcomed by industrial advocate Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at Industrial Relations Claims.
“These so-called zombie agreements have allowed big companies like Pizza Hut to get away with paying below award rates for far too long, effectively robbing their workers out of what they should be paid, and giving them an unfair advantage in the marketplace,” he said.
The Commission’s order follows the recent termination of other similar agreements that were in place in Justin Hemmes’ billion dollar pub and restaurant empire known as The Merivale Group, and in the Noni B retail fashion chain.
Both of those companies were also able to legally pay staff well below modern award rates thanks to out dated agreements.
Union failed to factor in annual wage increase
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) negotiated the original Pizza Hut agreement on behalf of workers.
In it, they agreed to give up certain penalty rates for a higher hourly rate, but the union failed to factor in an annual 3.3 per cent wage increase, which, over time, saw workers fall behind the industry award.
In 2016, the SDA applied to have the Pizza Hut agreement terminated after the Fair Work Commission found that Coles workers had been left worse off under a similar agreement negotiated by the union.
It was just one of dozens of applications filed by the SDA involving workers in the retail and fast food industries.
The termination orders were delayed thanks to an “administrative error” by the Fair Work Commission in 2017.
What it means for workers
About 4000 Pizza Hut workers across more than 200 stores will now be paid the current industry award, including higher hourly rates and penalty rates, which will result in bigger pay packets.
A spokesman for Pizza Hut told Nine Newspapers that the company was happy to consent to the termination of the old enterprise agreement.
“We are pleased to announce that a move to the Award will simplify processes throughout the network and further improve the working conditions of our people,” the spokesman said.
“Our franchisee partners are looking to mitigate the increase in labour costs through benefits unlocked under the Award and a savvy use of their existing labour force.