'ADOPT-A-STORE' ACTIVISTS LETTER
12th & 16th October - Picket your local McDonald's

Dear Adopt-a-store contact,

A friendly reminder that the Annual Days of Action Against McDonald's are coming up soon, so now's the time to order your leaflets and get planning those pickets! This year, October 16th will see the 14th Annual World Day of Action against McDonald's, and we hope that you will participate by leafleting and protesting outside your local store.

The annual Day of Solidarity with McDonald's Workers takes place on October 12th, the anniversary of the death of Mark Hopkins, a McDonald's worker who was killed by electrocution while at work in a McDonald's in Manchester. This year, in addition to the leaflets available for distribution to McDonald's workers encouraging them to stand up for their rights, we have produced a new leaflet for distribution to the public.

On one side it outlines the conditions for McDonald's workers, and on the other, the conditions for workers in Asian countries who produce the so called 'Happy Meal' toys for McDonald's promotions around the world. These are produced in countries such as Vietnam and China, with workers paid a pittance (as low as 5p per hour) and forced to work in dangerous conditions (last year 220 workers at one such factory suffered chemical poisoning). This is an issue which has received little publicity in this country, and we feel that it is important that it is brought to the public's attention. Further information on these toy factories is available from us, or you can contact Asia Monitor Resource Centre 8b, 444 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Please send a donation to cover postage etc.

12th January 1999 - McLIBEL APPEAL STARTS

The McLibel Defendants are appealing against the parts of the Judge's verdict which went against them and over some of the disturbing legal aspects of the case. The appeal is set to start on 12th January 1999, and supporters are welcome to attend and watch the English legal system in action for themselves! Helen & Dave will argue that multinational corporations should not be allowed to sue for libel. On June 19th 1997 Mr Justice Bell ruled that McDonald's 'exploit children', deceptively promote their food as 'nutritious', are 'culpably responsible for animal cruelty' and pay 'low wages' - but found for the company on some other points. Significantly McDonald's have not appealed over the damning rulings against them.

ORDERING LEAFLETS:

'What's Wrong With McDonald's?' leaflets, 'Happy Meal' toys/workers leaflets and special leaflets for children and McDonald's workers, can be ordered from MSC for those living in London (cheques - 'McLibel Support Campaign'). If you live outside London, please order leaflets from: Veggies, 180 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3HW. Tel 0115 958 5666 (cheques - "Veggies Ltd"). The cost of leaflets is 8 per 600, 12 per 1,000, 16 per 1,500. If you are unable to afford all or some of this amount, don't worry - the important thing is that leaflets are distributed. If you have access to printing or copying facilities we encourage you to produce your own leaflets. Artwork can be obtained from MSC, Veggies, or from the McSpotlight website .

Note: A fully referenced version of the current "What's Wrong With McDonald's?" leaflet is also available from MSC. It backs up every sentence in the leaflet with a reference to authoritative sources or documentary or oral evidence from the trial. Much of this evidence is in the form of admissions from McDonald's own witnesses, including top executives, or from the company's own documents.

BOOK, McSPOTLIGHT CD ROM, & DOCUMENTARY ON VIDEO

  • The paperback version of "McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial" by John Vidal (part co-written by the Defendants) is available in bookshops & libraries.
  • A CD-ROM of the McSpotlight Internet site is now available for a donation of 7 to MSC.
  • The hour-long documentary "McLibel: Two Worlds Collide" is available on video. Filmed over three years, with courtroom reconstructions directed by Ken Loach, it tells the inside story of McLibel. Contact OOPS, 0171 375 3181, or watch it on the internet at: Organise a public showing in your area.

WEEKLY MEETINGS

For those living in or near London, there are open meetings of London Greenpeace and the McLibel Support Campaign every Thursday from 7pm. Please come along if you wish to find out more about the group and/or would like to become involved. Meetings take place at 5 Caledonian Rd, N1.

COMING EVENTS

Monday October 12th. Day of Solidarity with McDonald's Workers. Picket your local McDonald's store and distribute leaflets to workers and the public. London Greenpeace picket: 5-7pm Leicester Square McDonald's store - All welcome.

Friday October 16th. World Day of Action Against McDonald's. Picket your local McDonald's store on that day or over the weekend and distribute "What's Wrong with McDonald's?" leaflets to the public.

London Greenpeace picket: 4-6pm McDonald's Head Office, High Rd, London, N2, by East Finchley underground station - Bring all your friends!

January 12th 1999. Start of McLibel Appeal. Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, WC2. (Holborn tube) Please come along and show your support.

June 18th 1999. A day of carnival, protest and action in the 'City' of London - a celebration of life and our common struggles against exploitation and oppression. - SPREAD THE WORD

SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE FOR LOCAL ACTIVISTS

(please use this to make your own)


PRESS RELEASE    [Name of local group etc]

[date]

ANNUAL WORLDWIDE DAY OF ACTION AGAINST McDONALD'S

PICKET OF McDONALD'S STORE AT     [location]

ON      [date]      FROM      [time]

On [date], we will be leafleting outside McDonald's store at [location] , in concert with thousands of others in many countries around the world, as part of the 14th Annual World Day of Action Against McDonald's. Every year McDonald's spends over $2 billion on advertising and promotions around the world. It is therefore vital that the public continue to hear an alternative point of view to that put out by McDonald's. Local campaigners will be leafleting a substantial percentage of McDonald's 800+ UK stores. This is to ensure the public have access to independent information about the company, and to challenge the ever growing power of multinational corporations which dominate our communities and environment.

On 19th June 1997 the McLibel trial ended with the Judge damning McDonalds' core business practices, finding the company guilty of: 'exploitation of children' with their advertising; deceptively promoting their high fat, high salt, low fibre food as 'nutritious'; paying workers 'low wages', 'thereby helping to depress wages for workers in the catering trade in Britain', and also being 'strongly anti-pathetic to any idea of unionisation'; and of being 'culpably responsible for cruel practices' in the rearing and slaughter of animals. These findings were made after the longest trial in English history and despite the overwhelming odds stacked against the Defendants who were denied legal aid and a jury and had to represent themselves up against experienced lawyers and notoriously oppressive libel laws.

Some findings were made in McDonald's favour, and so, on 12th January 1999 the Defendants Appeal will begin, challenging the use of oppressive and unfair libel laws and the parts of the verdict which went against them. They intend to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights seeking to end the right of multinational corporations to sue their critics for libel. Significantly McDonald's have not appealed over the damning rulings against them.

The trial has spawned a book "McLibel" by John Vidal (Macmillan) available in bookshops, a website "McSpotlight" (CD Rom of whole site now available) and a documentary "McLibel - Two Worlds Collide" (One-Off Productions) which are all available to the public.

The 'What's Wrong With McDonald's?' leaflets being handed out have now possibly become the most widely known and distributed protest leaflets in history. Over 2.5 million have already been handed out to the public in the UK alone since writs were served on the Defendants, and they are distributed in dozens of other countries.

[ Optional paragraph: ] We will also be distributing leaflets encouraging store workers to stand up for their rights and also detailing the conditions of workers who produce the so called "Happy Meal" toys for McDonald's promotions. These are produced in countries such as Vietnam and China, with workers paid a pittance (as low as 5p per hour) and forced to work in dangerous conditions (last year 220 workers at one such factory suffered chemical poisoning). Additionally, to counter some of the effects of McDonald's advertising to children we will be handing out the children's leaflet "What's Wrong With Ronald McDonald?".

[ Optional paragraph for those returning McDonald's litter: ] McLITTER - In protest at the waste, pollution and litter caused by the huge quantities of disposable packaging produced every year, we will also be ceremoniously returning to the company several bags of McDonald's discarded packaging collected from the streets around the store.

[ Include details of any other activities planned, eg street theatre. ]

A fully referenced version of the current A5 What's Wrong With McDonald's? leaflet is available from the McLibel Support Campaign. Every sentence in the leaflet is referenced to authoritative sources or evidence from the trial, much of which is in the form of admissions from McDonald's own witnesses, including top executives, or from the company's own documents.

CONTACTS: Local Events: [insert contact details of local group]
McLibel Trial: McLibel Support Campaign. 0171 713 1269.
mclibel@globalnet.co.uk
McSpotlight website: www.mcspotlight.org info@mcspotlight.org
McLibel Documentary: One Off Productions. 0171 375 3181. oops@spanner.org www.spanner.org/mclibel


Back to Campaigns

Press Index