"Zero-Tolerance: McDonald's TOLD THEY MUST Stamp Out Harassment and Support Vulnerable zero-hour contract Staff"
Written by Ian Hodson, National President of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union
In February 2023, McDonald's was forced into signing a legally binding agreement to deal with the issues of sexual harassment. The BBC exposes the situation that far too many workers have faced, leading to Westminster investigating what is happening at McDonald's. Its UK CEO admits to now being knowledgeable of 400+ workers raising grievances since July about bullying, discrimination, and sexual harassment. He further clarified his comment about sexual harassment by saying they receive up to 1 or 2 per week, as many as 104 a year. Research carried out through the TUC showed that for every one person who comes forward, five do not.
People Management magazine recently reported how McDonald's committed to working with the EHRC. A spokesman said the company had committed to:
Under questioning though the CEO conceded that this was voluntary for franchises.
Most of those who find themselves becoming victims are young women, some as young as 17. Nearly all we have spoken to are on zero-hours contracts. Many explained how the power dynamic worked in one store. Workers said the manager would identify his target; at the beginning, the target would be given many hours, and then he would engage them on plans they had, such as holidays, festivals, or other events. He would then cut their hours. Hence, they struggled to afford what they intended to do. He would then offer them a lift and stop at a cash point, offering cash to help them out with an implied suggestion of what was expected in return.
Many others told the BBC about the normalisation inside McDonald's of behaviors that was seen as usual: having your bum slapped, being groped, being bullied, and having sexual suggestions or comments in stores was happening daily, and if you raised this, you would be threatened with your hours cut. Working on zero hour contracts not only provides the opportunity to exploit workers, but the insecurity of the contracts means people also become vulnerable to this type of predatory behaviours.
This type of behaviour should never be normalised. No one should be subjected to bullying, discrimination, or harassment. As we enter 2024, we must unite as workers and campaigners and say enough is enough. It's expected that this year will be an election year, although the government could drag it out till Jan 2025, when politicians will be looking to win your votes. But we are in this situation because political decision-making is freeing up the Labour market to make it as cheap as possible to fire and re-hire.
Over the last 40 years, politicians have pushed through legislation stripping working people of their rights or protection in the workplace. Businesses must sign up for our accreditation scheme, but it is critical legislation to abolish zero hours happens, too.
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Images can be downloaded from here. Image of Julian Richer should be credited to Gerardo Jaconelli.