My Lord, in this case I appear for the Plaintiffs and the Defendants are represented by my learned friend Miss Heather Rogers.
The Plaintiff Company is the British subsidiary of the McDonald Corporation, and is the proprietor of the McDonald's fast food restaurants throughout the United Kingdom. The Defendants are the Transnationals Informatlon Centre London Limited, a company limited by guarantee whose principal objects are described as the provision of a service for information, research, advice and monitoring concerned with the strategies and activites of transnational companies operating in the United Kingdom. In October 1987 the Defendants published a substantial pamphlet entitled "Working for Big Mac" which contained a fierce attack upon the employment practices of McDonald's. In particular, the pamphlet suggested that McDonald's operated a policy of systematic exploitation of young people by employing them in their restaurants in squalid and degrading conditions, at excessively low rates, without permitting them to have proper breaks for meals, for excessive hours, and without proper time off, It was also suggested that it was McDonalds' policy to maintain unreasonably low staffing levels for reasons of economy, thus causing employees to work under great stress, and that employees who sought to engage in trade union activities were dismissed.
There is no truth in any of these damaging suggestions. McDonald's certainly requires hard work and commitment from its employees, including the many young people who work there, but the Company is very concerned to ensure that its workers are well treated and have proper meal breaks and days off, and that they are not required to work excessive hours. Contrary to what was suggested in the article, no employee has ever been dismissed or otherwise victimised by the Company for engaging in trade union activities.
These gravely libellous allegations in this pamphlet have received wide publicity both in this country and abroad, and could not be allowed to pass unchallenged. The Defendants now recognise that the allegations against McDonald's in this pamphlet were wholly misconceived, and are here by thelr Counsel today to express their apologies to McDonald's. They have undertaken that they will not repeat these or any similar allegations concerning McDonald's in future, and that they will destroy all their stocks of the pamphlet.
Full report which the TIC was forced to apologise for.