“Fair is Fair” – McDonald’s workers warned against breaks
Workers at a franchised McDonald’s outlet in Queensland have been cautioned against exercising their right to paid 10-minute breaks in a scathing social media post from the store’s manager.
Taking to a private Facebook page, the manager warned that employees would be unable to take toilet breaks if they demanded paid rest breaks during shifts under four hours in length.
“If you work longer than four hours, you become eligible for a 10 minute break … so for majority of crew you actually probably don’t ever qualify for a 10 minute break,” the post said.
The manager then went on to explain that if the outlet was to enforce the paid breaks, the 10 minute break “would be the only time you would ever be permitted to have a drink or go to the toilet. So, I hope to god you don’t get thirsty on your next shift because we just wouldn’t be able to allow a drink. Fair is Fair, right?”.
The franchise is operated by Tantex Holdings, which controls six McDonald’s outlets in Brisbane, including sites at Central Station, Windsor West and the McWhirters building.
After the message was leaked on social media, the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) quickly responded, organising a protest outside the company’s Queen St Mall site.
“It is essential that every employer complies with relevant employment law – including the minimum workplace rights that apply to staff," Josh Cullinan, RAFFWU secretary told Inside Franchise Business.
“Employers need to understand that taking adverse action against workers for making complaints about their employment, or becoming involved in the union, is unlawful. We will ruthlessly prosecute any employer which attacks our members.”
RAFFWU has been piling pressure on McDonald’s to improve employee working conditions for quite some time, with the union’s #maccasrevolution campaign steadily gaining traction.
Late last year, RAFFWU called for immediate action regarding the implementation of paid 10-minute breaks, citing obligations outlined in the Protecting Vulnerable Workers amendment to the Fair Work Act.
“Franchisors have clear responsibilities as well. A breach by a franchisee is a breach by the franchisor unless specific action has been taken by the franchisor," Cullinan said.
“We are now investigating many franchisees as well as franchisors in the retail and fast food sectors. For far too long they have gotten away with exploiting workers, often in cahoots with the SDA.”
Despite the reports, a spokesperson for McDonald’s said the company is committed to ensuring workplace standards are upheld, imploring any McDonald’s employee that has a concern over working conditions to contact them directly through its employee assistance hotline.
“Everyone who works in our restaurants is given breaks as required,” the spokesperson said.
“We work closely with our restaurants to ensure all our employees receive the correct entitlements and pay.”