Kevin Harrison worked in 1986/7 at McDonald's branches in Colchester and Ipswich as an assistant manager. Pressure to reduce costs all round led to the secret cutting of food servings and using out of date food. He criticised managers'use of 'hustle' to get work speeded up. 'McDonald's', he stated,'is a very pressurised environment, and nowhere else are you expected to work at that level for such long periods of time'. He complained that managers were encouraged to use their power over work schedules to discriminate and to foster compliance among crew. Mr Harrison told the court that an authoritarian 'them and us' attitude was created between crew and managers, which aimed to exploit crew members wherever possible. He left due to 'the job, the hours and mounting dissatisfaction with the company philosophy in general.'
Kate Harrison then told the court about the harsh reality and the pressure of working at 5 different McDonalds' stores, stating that crew members were often denied breaks in busy periods, and sometimes worked whole shifts without a break. At three of the stores she witnessed under-18s working illegal hours. She recalled 2 occasions when sewage came up out of the drains into the kitchen but staff had to continue preparing and cooking food.
She described several discrepancies between official regulations and actual practice at the plant, including poor hygiene, improper inspection and higher than required temperatures - all of which could contribute to contamination and bacterial growth in McDonald's beefburgers. She was dismissed after refusing to bow to pressure to sign export certificates for the slaughterhouse's beef to verify (without the necessary back-up documents) it as coming from herds which had been 'BSE-free' for at least 6 years (as required by Europe).