At McDonald’s UK, sexual harassment is normal There are between one and two complaints per week

CEO of MThe director of the Donald’s restaurant chain in the United Kingdom, Alistair McCraw, revealed during a session with parliamentarians that the fast food chain receives between one and two complaints of sexual harassment per week. According to the CEO, since July he has received more than 400 complaints from employees, a significant increase after a BBC report revealed hundreds of harassment complaints last July.

Of all these, Eighteen employees were fired, although Macro admitted he had no information on how many complaints had been made to police. A BBC investigation revealed worrying cases, including workers as young as 17 being harassed and assaulted.

These statements point to a toxic work culture at McDonald’s, where allegations of sexual assault, racism and bullying are said to not be taken seriously. At Tuesday’s hearing with the Business and Commerce Select Committee, McCraw explained that since July they have received 407 complaints from employees on a variety of issues.

When harassment is the norm

In response to the BBC’s initial report, a special unit was established to manage investigations to address these complaints. Of the 157 complaints investigated, 17 were related to sexual harassment and resulted in disciplinary action. “We typically see 20 to 25 calls a week, one or two of which are about sexual harassment,” the CEO said, describing the frequency of complaints.

During the hearing, Liam Byrne, chairman of the Business and Commerce Committee, questioned McCraw about the company’s priority between profitability and worker protections. In this sense, Macro emphasized that “protecting our employees is the most important thing in our work.”

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More than 200 current and former workers spoke to the BBC about their experiences at McDonald’s, accounts that McCraw described as “truly horrific” and “very difficult to hear”. Some of the complaints date back to the 1980s, and McDonald’s is one of the largest private sector employers in the UK, with more than 170,000 workers and a young workforce, three-quarters of whom are aged between 16 and 25. The global American chain has 1,450 restaurants in the country, 89% of which are operated by franchisees.

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