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McDonald’s Reopens 700 Restaurants Without Answering 10 Worker Safety Questions

Union BFAWU is yet to have its questions on reopening safety answered by the corporation

Women wearing face masks walks past a McDonald’s logo
McDonald’s is reopening restaurants across the country
Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As people flock back to McDonald’s, workers are yet to receive answers to safety concerns

McDonald’s reopens 700 fast food restaurants in the U.K. today, after prolonged reopening trials and before answering a ten-strong list of questions from the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) on safety measures and sick pay security for its staff, posed in April when it announced those reopening trials. The BFAWU is yet to make a statement on today’s reopening, which encompasses just over half of the corporation’s restaurants.

The company has announced the rules customers will have to follow, including leaving details for track-and-trace, perspex screens at order points, and a table-service only model. It has also announced that it will follow the likes of Nando’s and Pret a Manger in passing the government’s VAT cut for hospitality on to customers, because it is a multibillion dollar corporation that can afford to do so.

It is yet to clarify what it is doing for staff. Whether regarding topping up wages for workers whose furlough payments would take them below minimum wage, clarifying those safety measures during reopening trials, and managing staffs’ worries over being forced to go to work sick because of inadequate sick pay, the company has not successfully addressed how its franchising model, which has made it the gargantuan, high-value company that it is, will be leveraged to protect staff not “directly employed” by McDonald’s. Only 18 percent of the 1300 restaurants in the U.K. are McDonald’s-owned, and the “flexibility” offered to workers and “autonomy” offered to franchisees — often high-value, large businesses themselves — translates to precarity and lack of protections, crisis or no crisis, as customers bite back in to the delicious evil of a double cheeseburger. [Mirror]

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