ILO partners with indecent employers like McDonald’s in Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth
McDonald’s has signed up to the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth joining ‘ 43 partners who have pledged to reduce barriers to decent employment for youth while boosting access to decent work around the globe’
ILO welcomes McDonald’s “decision to pledge a commitment towards Decent Jobs for Youth, which aims at positive change in young people’s lives through positive action.” This will come as a great surprise to McDonald’s workers and the unions working with them globally to achieve decent pay and decent work conditions as McDonalds’ does nothing but put up barriers!
This is McWhitewash of the worst kind, surprisingly promoted by ILO, a tripartite organization which seems to ignore the on-going global movement of workers and Trade Unions against McDonald’s – the waves of strikes, the demands for $15 an hour in US and £10 an hour in the UK.
Allowing McDonalds the prestige of respectability in appearing to ‘tackle barriers’ for young people, when they could at a stroke remove the barriers in their own company and pay all workers living wages, is absurd at best. This would be ‘positive action’ but the meaningless pledge is not.
Ian Hodson President of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, BFAWU which is organising young workers in McDonald’s and supporting the strike they held which won many concessions with more planned soon said:
“We are disappointed to read of the tie up between the ILO and McDonalds who are global exploiters. For the ILO to give credibility to McDonalds a company that has championed zero hours contracts and low pay is not the type of employer whose support for this initiative should be welcomed – its employment practices are not a model to be praised. McDonalds is currently under investigation across the EU and other parts of the world for its exploitative employment practices.
McDonalds operates a fierce anti-union strategy which includes union busting tactics again in breach of what is expected of a decent employer. As we have witnessed in the UK, McDonalds has no hesitation in sacking young workers who join trade unions. In one instance they sacked workers for raising genuine concerns for health and safety which we believe are contrary to the principles the ILO claims to champion on its website ‘Promoting Jobs Protecting people’.
“We urge the ILO to withdraw from endorsing McDonalds’ as a reputable partner – and to scrutinise all other corporations signing up to this pledge- to protect young workers around the world from its low road policies and to tell McDonalds to make good on its pledge by stopping exploitative employment practices, paying its workers a decent wage and recognising Trade Unions.”
Janet Newsham, GMHC and Hazards Campaign has been working with the BFAWU and talking to workers about the appalling health and safety issues in the fast food industry and in McDonalds’ especially, said:
“I am astonished that the ILO has accepted McDonald’s as a partner in this Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth when they are a world leader in creating barriers to decently paid work with decent health, safety and other conditions. I have talked to many young graduates working at McDonald’s who have been treated badly, sacked for raising genuine health and safety concerns, subject to the insecurity of zero hours contracts and wages so low they can’t afford housing and decent food. You can recognize a McDonald’s worker by the burn scars on their arms. McDonald’s is the barrier to decent employment . It has the money and power to solve this at a stroke by making wages in its stores and franchises £10 an hour immediately in the UK, $15 an hour in the US, and solving the burn problems along with all the other serious health and safety issues which make work indecent and bad for young people’s lives and health. “