Socialist Worker

KFC’s finger lickin’ zero hours lies exposed

Fast food giant KFC claims it doesn’t use zero hours contracts in Britain. Alistair Farrow takes apart the spin

Issue No. 2514

Fast food workers in Glasgow march on a KFC earlier this year

Fast food workers in Glasgow march on a KFC earlier this year (Pic: Duncan Brown)


Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) claims that restaurant workers selling its foods are not employed on zero hours contracts.

A Freuds PR company spokesperson told Socialist Worker, “Zero hours contracts have been completely phased out and are not in use by corporate or franchisees.”

A statement from KFC confirmed this. “Our people are at the heart of our business so we do not have zero-hour contracts in any KFC restaurants in the UK,” it said.

But it’s not true. At least one of its franchisees is employing workers on zero hours contracts.

Alderforce North Ltd operates multiple KFC franchises. Socialist Worker has seen zero hours contracts, some from as recent as last month, which the company had issued.

The contracts state, “You are not contracted to work a specific number of hours each week. Though we will work as closely as possible with you to match your ability to our business needs.

“However, even if you work the same or similar shifts each week, the company reserves the right to amend this pattern in accordance with its business needs.”

Alderforce North’s director Raja Adil is the director of over 15 other companies.

At least two of them—Marsden’s Caterers of Sheffield Ltd and Marz Ltd—also operate KFC franchises.

Documents seen by Socialist Worker suggest that these three companies operate over 30 KFC outlets.

Working 

One worker told Socialist Worker, “It’s the biggest franchise in the country.

“They own stores in Wakefield, Hull and a couple in Scotland. It’s massive.

“If KFC says they’re not using zero hours contracts, then why are they still using them?

“We’re the working class, we’re the people that make this business. Without us, you’d literally have one person in a shop trying to sell chicken.

“They wouldn’t have any income whatsoever without us so why are they allowed to treat us like that?

“I think it’s a joke—these contracts shouldn’t even exist.”

Raja Adil and his brother Mohammed Adil are the director and secretary respectively of at least 15 companies. Their businesses run franchises for other brands including a Best Western hotel.

“They make millions and millions a year,” said the KFC worker. “He could just lose a million and pay people a quid extra an hour.

“It’s just greed. These contracts were invented by greedy people.”

“It’s an absolute joke. I’m in my twenties, I should have some security and be paying off my mortgage, but I can’t even get one because I’m on zero hours.”­


The KFC public relations company Freuds responded to the article with the following statements.

Grant Roderickson, Operations Manager of Alderforce said, "These contracts were used in error and should not have been given to any of our team members. It appears old contract templates were not updated by all restaurants, so we are working to rectify this as soon as possible. We encourage any team members who believe they may have been given the incorrect contract to contact us immediately. Even with this administrative error,we are confident that no one has been held to the conditions of a zero hour contract."

A KFC spokesperson added, "We are satisfied that this is an administrative error and are working closely with Alderforce to rectify the situation. As a business with people at its heart,we are absolutely against the use of these contracts and would urge any KFC employees who believe they may have been provided with an incorrect contract to contact us immediately." 


Sports Direct and BHS scandals show how system puts profit before people

Unite union supporters protesting outside a Sports Direct

Two top bosses, Philip Green and Mike Ashley, have come under fire for the way they have treated workers at their stores.

Investigations into the sale of bankrupt retailer BHS and working conditions at Sports Direct both delivered damning verdicts.

Green sold BHS for £1 and Ashley is still CEO of Sports Direct.

On Monday the parliamentary inquiry into BHS slammed Philip Green as the “unacceptable face of capitalism”.

The phrase was first used by Tory prime minister Edward Heath to describe Lonrho boss Tiny Rowland in the 1970s.

But capitalism has no acceptable face—it means wealth for a few and poverty for billions.

The inquiry also found that “Philip Green has a moral duty to make a large compensation” to the BHS workers’ pensions fund.

But why was Green allowed to raid it with impunity and, apparently, completely legally?

The government’s Pension Protection Fund covers the shortfall but workers will lose 10 percent on any amount it covers.

Meanwhile Ashley is being shamed for working conditions at his Sports Direct stores and warehouses.

A recent government report said, “Workers were being penalised for matters such as taking a short break to drink and for taking time off work when ill.”

Ashley claimed that his business had grown so fast that he couldn’t keep track of what was going on in it. It’s almost unbelievable that the CEO of a company was not aware of working conditions at the company’s main distribution centre.

These bosses are presented as exceptional—but this is just business as usual for capitalism.

The Business, Innovation and Skills committee chair, Ian Wright, said that the Sports Direct treats “workers as commodities rather human beings”.

This is not unique to one company. It’s the product of the system we live under—and need to get rid of.


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