International Highlight: The McDonald’s “Gare de l’est” stopped due to a renewable strike

An exciting update from our ACORN affiliate in France, Alliance Citoyenne, who are helping organize McDonald’s workers fighting for better working conditions:

After demonstrating this Friday May 11 to denounce the low wages, anti-union policy and tax evasion of the multinational McDonald's, the strikers occupy McDonald's “Gare de l’Est”. An unprecedented occupation starting its sixth day. 

 "There were more than 200 of us, strikers from Paris, Marseille, many students, some of whom work for McDo, a few railway workers, postal workers, but also motorcycle delivery drivers who are our service providers," says a striking employee.  On Friday, May 11, in the early evening, over two hundred employees of the multinational company from several cities in France, supported by activists, closed seven McDonald's franchised restaurants from Gare du Nord to Opéra.

The common point between these restaurants: their unscrupulous millionaire owner. Over the 2008-2014 period, Michel Parmentier spent an average of 26 euros on personnel costs per 100 euros of revenue, 27% less than in restaurants directly owned by the brand.  The list of abuses is long: the right to represent employees who have been hijacked, night and Sunday work with no increase, absence for 13 months. Despite his 50 million Euros turnover generated at the time by his 15 McDonald's restaurants, Michel Parmentier continues to impose indecent working conditions in the 23 restaurants he owns in 2018.

At the end of Friday's demonstration, the striking employees of Mc Donald's Gare de l'Est then decided to go on strike to push Mr. Parmentier to open negotiations. In support, more than 500 people, McDonald's employees, railway workers, students and employees from other sectors in struggle came to the restaurant to denounce the precariousness embodied by the multinational. The employees are asking for the recognition of the Economic and Social Unit (ESCU) of the Parmentier restaurants in order to benefit from the participation bonuses due to them and to put an end to the anti-union policy through the election of staff representation at franchisee level. 

The Unhappier Meal report on McDonald's tax practices published the 14th of May, focuses on the company's use of tax avoidance mechanisms in Europe and in low tax and secrecy jurisdictions around the world. It shows how, in the middle of a tax investigation and the day after Brexit, McDonald's changed its tax structure by moving from Luxembourg to Delaware in the United States and using a myriad of intermediary companies in Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, and companies in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Guernsey.

Political figures, Jean Luc Mélenchon and Eric Coquerel have already come to visit the striking employees of the Gare de l'Est restaurant. Other personalities have already planned to spend this week of which Eva Joly on Thursday May 17th at 3 pm. Meanwhile, the employees, determined, will maintain their strike until complete satisfaction of their demands.