European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

McDo’s practices in the spotlight at hearings in Brazil's Senate

20/08/2015

Following a series of actions and protests held at Sao Paulo’s McDonald’s restaurant and a roundtable with McDonald’s workers and politicians from Sao Paulo State Council and City Council, a hearing in the Brazilian Senate on 20 August 2015 investigated over McDonald's responsibility for its workers.

As active member of the on-going global campaign around McDonalds’ labour and fiscal practices,  EFFAT together with workers, fellow union leaders, elected officials and politicians attended and provided strong evidence of how McDonalds’ business model is detrimental to its own workers, consumers, governments, suppliers, and competitors in many countries across the world.

Employing approximately 2 million fast food workers, the multinational company is the world’s second biggest private employers and the biggest fast food companies. Yet it’s equally renowned for its anti-union practices in many countries, denying workers’ pay for extra time worked, imposing zero-hours contracts, violating health and safety standards at the workplace and annually depriving public finance of over 1 billion euros through its complex yet strategic corporate structure.

Public campaign targeting McDonalds’ practices have brought some positive results in Europe, where, in the cases of Austria, Germany and Denmark and others, collective agreements and social dialogue have been established with employers. However, a major part of the problem still persists in relation to collective labour agreements, which wouldn’t apply to companies structured in franchise, like 80% of McDonalds.

In his contribution to the Brazilian hearing Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT Secretary General, reiterated EFFAT’s active involvement in the campaign and said: ‘Not only are McDonalds’ practices damaging workers and their rights to be represented. Even from a shareholders’ point of view McDonalds’ tricks to get away with fair labour and ethical practices law are giving the business a very bad image. EFFAT and its international counterpart IUF stand ready to open constructive talks and establish a collaborative relation with business and legislators to restore fair and deserving employment conditions for fast food workers, ensure their representation everywhere, and render justice to the society at large”.

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.