‘Pressure cooker’: Shine Lawyers turns up the heat on KFC with employee class action

‘Pressure cooker’: Shine Lawyers turns up the heat on KFC with employee class action

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The heat is on KFC after it was slapped with a class action over claims that its employees were not given 10-miunute breaks in line with industry awards over the past six years.

KFC Australia franchisee Collins Foods (ASX: CKF) has confirmed to the ASX this morning that Shine Lawyers filed the class action in the Federal Court on behalf of employees who worked at KFC between 4 December 2017 and 4 December 2023.

Three entities within the Collins Foods group have been joined as respondents to the claim, which was served on the company last Friday.

The class action, which is which is backed by the Retail and Fast Food Worker’s Union (RAFFWU), alleges that KFC and its franchisees ‘systematically denied workers their rights to paid breaks’. 

“KFC workers are entitled to a paid 10-minute break after four hours of work and a second paid break after eight hours pursuant to the various industrial instruments under which they are employed,” says Vicky Antzoulatos, Shine’s head of class actions.

“The majority of workers are under the age of 21. These workers are young and made to work in high-stress environments without any rest.

“We will allege that these young workers were not given their entitlements in the course of their employment.

“Workers are suing for the value of lost breaks and for the loss of amenity and the stress placed on workers as a result of working in these pressure-cooker environments and not having proper breaks.”

Antzoulatos says one client who worked three to five shifts a week at two KFC franchises in Victoria from June 2016 to November 2021, claims she took up smoking ‘just to get a break’.

Collins Foods says it will keep the market abreast of any developments in the class action as they arise.

“Collins Foods takes all its obligations under the Fair Work Act and KFC National Enterprise Agreement very seriously, including the obligation to allow employees take the paid rest breaks they are entitled to,” the company says.

The class action comes on the heels of a strong half-year performance by Collins Foods in the six months to 15 October this year, with underlying EBITDA from its KFC and Taco Bell outlets globally rising 16.7 per cent to $109.9 million.

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