Friday, September 27, 2013

A victory for workers' rights

Over the weekend we learned that KFC hates the disabled, having a policy of systematicly sacking their disabled workers. Now, thanks to Unite, that policy has been reversed and its victims offered their jobs back:

Unite Union has reached an agreement with Restaurant Brands over the dismissal of 17 workers at KFC with disabilities that includes offering them the chance to get their jobs back.

Over the past year and a half the company has been carrying out store “restructures” that involved demanding staff with disabilities meet an impossibly high bar of being able to do every job in the store to stay employed. The agreement with Unite Union provides for the establishment of a “limited duties role” that can be done by disabled workers once minimum health and safety training has been completed. These roles will be offered to all the dismissed staff even if they have received a settlement when the dismissal was challenged by Unite or their advocacy group.

There's an obvious lesson here: unions work. There's another: so does the threat of bad publicity. But there's also a clear problem: the laws intended to protect disabled workers from discrimination and dismissal clearly did not work in this case. Parliament needs to look at why, and tighten them.