Brussels 28 May 2015: Today, a coalition of global trade unions formed by EFFAT, IUF, and SEIU released a report on McDonalds’ worldwide abusive employment practices. The document reveals the systemic employment strategies used by the company that make the iconic golden arches a global symbol of the low-road economy.

The McJobs report outlines how McDonalds’ practices are aimed at maximising profits at the expense of labour standards. It covers wage theft, employment discrimination, systemic work safety failures and anti-union practices. Also highlighted are child labour and migrant worker abuses in various parts of the world from Australia to Israel.

McDonalds is the global fast food leader, with more than 36,000 stores in 119 countries daily serving approximately 69 million customers. The McDonald’s system employs 1.9 million workers, making it the second largest private-sector employer in the world. Yet, instead of using its global scale and prominence to support high quality labour standards, McDonalds’ low-road employment strategy has now made it a global leader in the development of low-wage, precarious service jobs worldwide.

In a related event today MEP Jutta Steinruck (S&D, Germany) is hosting a policy event in the European Parliament on the “European challenge of decent jobs and social dumping in the fast food sector”. The event will address the impact of a large low wage sector on the EU economy as well as sustainable working conditions. Speakers include a legal expert from the European Commission as well as numerous international labour unions.

MEP Steinruck is one of many MEPs who spoke out against McDonalds’ abusive labour practices. Reacting to the findings of the McJobs report, she stated that“the data gathered in this report raises serious concerns. As a leading global company and one of the world’s largest employers, McDonalds ought to give an example instead of systematically looking at how to exploit worker’s lack of job prospects and limited legal protection”.

The Socialist Group (S&D) in the European Parliament has been voicing strong concern over McDonalds’ labour practices. On U.S. Tax Day, the S&D held a rally in Brussels to bring such practices further into the spotlight. The socialists have vowed to keep pressure on the parliament and the European Commission to tackle McDonalds’ tax avoidance and employment strategies.

The McJobs document is the third report issued since February on McDonalds’ unethical practices. Previously, international trade unions published ‘Unhappy Meal’ and ‘ Golden Dodges’  which outlined in detail McDonalds’ $1.8 billion tax avoidance schemes in Europe and the rest of the world.


Maddalena Colombi (Head of Communications, EFFAT)

+32 2 209 62 62  

About EFFAT:

About EFFAT: EFFAT is the European Federation of Trade Unions in the Food, Agriculture and Tourism sectors. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 2.6 million members towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organization of the IUF.

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About IUF:

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) is an international trade union federation composed of 397 trade unions in 125 countries with an affiliated membership of over 2.6 million members.

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About SEIU:

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) unites 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, public sector and in property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages, benefits and create better communities, while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy.

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