Pizza Huts across the U.K and the world were hit yesterday (Saturday 4th February) with pickets by the militant fightin' union the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World). The pickets in solidarity with workers at a Sheffield branch who've been in dispute with their management since last April. The dispute centers around the fact the the minimum wage staff at the Hut weren't getting paid extra for bank holidays and were expected to use their own cars for delivery runs for a mere 60p a trip.
SchNEWS spoke to one of the workers and IWW agitator at the heart of the dispute "Basically we started off using Pizza Hut's internal grievance procedure – a regional manager visted us and promised a review that would see us getting £1 per delivery – the bank holiday issue wasn't even mentioned. This rise was promised in November and of course didn't materialise".
Further joint letters from all staff at the branch to Pizza Hut's owners YumBrands Inc, (the world's largest restaurant corporation and owners of KFC, and Taco Bell), didn't produce any results. What's important to remember about Pizza Hut and businesses like it, is that they are recession proof – when people haven't got much money they're more likely to go for a takeaway than go out for a meal. In the last quarter of 2011 YumBrands Inc saw growth of 13% - the managing director has seen a pay increase of 436% over recent years – a rate of increase that would put store staff on £36 an hour! In fact of course they've had a virtual pay cut as minimum wage levels always lag behind inflation.
Braving the cold, Pizza Hut branches were picketed the length and breadth of the country – with some IWW types turning out in Germany and in the U.S. Final words to our man in the union "What's happened with this dispute is that a group of us who were quite used to crap conditions at work turned around and realised that together we could do something about it. Despite our best attempts to talk to management, we feel like we aren't getting anywhere. It's a joke that as Pizza Hut's business continues to grow, the people that work the hardest and who are feeling the pinch are still receiving the bare minimum the company can get away with paying."
Got a job and want to organise in your workplace? Then contact the Industrial Workers of the World.