By Alistair Farrow
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Campaigners hail victory after McDonald’s backs down over zero-hours contracts

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Issue 2552
Ian Hodson (front) campaigning for fast food workers rights in 2015
Ian Hodson (front) campaigning for fast food workers’ rights in 2015 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Fast food chain McDonald’s has announced it will offer fixed-term contracts to workers who want them.

The firm employs over 115,000 people and made a profit of £1.2 billion in Britain last year. That it has taken so long to offer the contracts is a scandal.

“The vast majority of our employees are happy with their flexible contracts,” said Paul Pomroy, McDonald’s CEO in Britain, offering little evidence for his claim. “But some have told us that more fixed hours would help them get better access to some financial products.”

Globally the firm makes almost £90 billion profit a year. But its workers struggle to put food on the table on the minimum wage McDonald’s pays its new workers. And a minimum wage job means poverty regardless of whether workers have fixed-term contracts or not.

Bfawu union president Ian Hodson spoke to Socialist Worker about the news.

“Bfawu has worked hard for a long time to expose, and end, the use of zero-hours contracts at McDonald’s in Britain,” he said. “We’re glad to see the company has finally relented. There is simply no place for these contracts.

“Once again, we have proved that worker mobilisation works. And we won’t be stopping our efforts to hold McDonald’s accountable anytime soon.”

McDonald’s is under investigation for its tax arrangements in Britain. At least six countries have investigated the firm for tax avoidance since 2005. 

Ian said, “Together with other trade union movements around the world, we will continue to turn up the heat on McDonald’s to respect the rights of workers.

“For too long McDonald’s have been a rule unto their own. This news is a step in the right direction.”

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