McDonald's staff 'scared to go to work because of abusive managers'

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McDonald’s staff are “scared to go to work” at some of the fast food chain’s restaurants as managers shout and swear at them, an employee has claimed.

Lewis Baker, a crew trainer in Crayford, south-east London, described “general abuse” suffered by staff at the store and said he felt “intimidated” going to work.

The employee, one of many McDonald’s workers on strike across the UK, said managers had “turned the union into a joke”.

He claimed staff were being “bullied” and that shifts were allocated based on “favouritism”.

Mr Baker was one of dozens of employees at the fast food giant to rally outside the Palace of Westminster calling for wage rises, union rights and an end to zero hour contracts on Monday morning.

He said he hoped McDonald’s would listen to the workers and put a stop to staff being “shouted at, sworn at” and being “scared to come to work”.

McDonald’s Protestors demonstrate in support of workers at the fast food chain striking in a protest over pay and other industrial relations issues, near the Houses of Parliament (REUTERS)

The 27-year-old added: “I don’t think at any workplace people should feel scared to come to work – we’re just trying to pay our bills.”

McDonald’s said those taking action represented 0.01 per cent of its workforce, adding that the dispute was related to its internal grievance procedures.

Mr Baker said: “Staff are being bullied and we’re having shifts cut based on whether the manager likes you or not, so if the manager doesn’t like you you’ll get less shifts. It’s just based on favouritism – if they like you it’s an easy ride, if they don’t they make your life difficult.

“The managers have sworn at us, shouted at us, just general abuse when we get to work. I feel like whatever stress they are under they put on us so it’s really unfair.

“If the customers are rude to us we don’t have any backing by our managers… It just creates that culture that it’s okay for us to be abused at work.”

Mr Baker, who has worked for the fast-food chain at two restaurants over five years and earns £7.85 per hour, claimed managers took screenshots if staff posted on social media from union meetings and then sent them round to the area managers.

He added: “Whenever there’s a problem at work they [the management] say ‘oh what are you going to do, tell your union?’ in a sarcastic way.

“I do feel a little bit intimidated going into work because of the way they’re turning it into a joke and allowed to do that online. If we did it we could be sacked for doing something like that.”

He said he was one of 12 workers at his store to file a grievance but his was closed without a resolution after five weeks, and the others were not answered “until we balloted for strike action”.

“When we balloted for strike action they started to respond to them as quickly as possible.”

McDonald’s, which employs around 85,000 staff in the UK and one million worldwide, announced in April that workers would be offered a choice of flexible or fixed contracts with minimum guaranteed hours, saying that 86 per cent have chosen to stay on flexible contracts.

A company spokesman said: “We can confirm that, following a ballot process, the BFAWU has indicated that a small number of our people representing less than 0.01 per cent of our workforce are intending to strike in two of our 1,270 UK restaurants.

“As per the terms of the ballot, the dispute is solely related to our internal grievance procedures and not concerning pay or contracts.

“As announced in April this year, together with our franchisees, we are providing our people with the option of a guaranteed hour contract, and all restaurants will have these contracts in place by the end of 2017.

“McDonald’s UK and its franchisees have delivered three pay rises since April 2016; this has increased the average hourly pay rate by 15 per cent.

“We are proud of our people at McDonald’s, they are at the heart of all we do and we work hard to ensure that our teams are treated fairly. Our internal processes underpin that commitment.”


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