What Lies Behind the Smiles?

Anti-McDonald's Day in Hong Kong

15 October 2000

More than 30 people staged an anti-McDonald's campaign in Hong Kong on 15 October. Demonstrators from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Green Peace Hong Kong and Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee marched from Yau Ma Tei to the Star Ferry of Tsim Sha Tsui, playing McDonald's characters and Hello Kitty. The three groups researched on the use of GM food as well as the labor conditions of Mc workers and had staged demonstrations against the corporation before. This is the first time Hong Kong groups demonstrated on the global anti-McDonald's day. We hope to see a an anti-McDonald's and anti-TNC awareness can be cultivated in HK and Asia.

In August, McDonald's is found to be selling buns that contain GM soya beans in HK. The corporation has done nothing despite repeated pressure given by Green Peace Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Union researched on the salary of McDonald's store workers in Hong Kong and found the hourly pay ranged from as low as HKD11.5 (less than USD1.5) to HKD13 (around USD1.6). HKCIC researched on the working conditions of toy workers of McDonald's toy suppliers in mainland China. Not only are the Chinese workers working long hours at a mean wage, one of the toy supplier in China was found to be using child workers 14 and 15 years of age. (See HKCIC's City Toys report )

On 15 Oct, HKCIC released a report extract of 10 other McDonald's toy suppliers all in the Guangdong province. All the 10 factories are found to be violating the Chinese Labor Law. The irony is that compliance with the national labor law of the supplier's is a top priority provision enshrined in the company labor code of McDonald's. The full report of the toy contractors of McDonald's will be available soon.

Sunday is a good day to tell families what lies behind the smiles of Ronald. Demonstrators stormed into 4 McDonald's restaurants distributing anti-McDonald's leaflets, stickers, singing anti-McDonald's songs to the customers inside. A street drama on how McDonald's pays its workers both local and in the mainland was staged. HKCIC has a website which, hopefully, can open a space for interested parties to communicate information on the sales, marketing and production of McDonald's toys as well as other labor issues. All the reports on toy production of McDonald's are there, at http://www.geocities.com/mc_shame.

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