- McLibel -


Posted by: K P Chapman ( England ) on November 29, 1999 at 12:12:38:


At the beginning of the year I went to the Court of Appeal, to watch an appeal. The case was McDonalds Corporation & McDonalds Restaurants Ltd. v. Steel & Morris. As you will know this is the very famous (or infamous?) McLibel case. In my very limited capacity I tried to help. I wrote a few submissions for the defendants. I spent most nights reading law reports for them. My University work started to suffer (Iím studying for a degree in law at Kingís College London.) I was sometimes getting less than 4 hours sleep a night. Helen and Dave were getting less work than me, and were working harder than I was, and I was knackered.

Why did I do this? McDonalds could be seen as a good thing. Why? They give jobs to some people that would not normally have the chance of getting a job, with regular hours, with a fortnightly pay etc. Young mothers are able to work hours that suite them and their families. Students can work out of college and school. So, why did I feel that I had to help the fight against them?

McDonalds pay low wages, their working conditions are awful, their health and safety is crap, their food is very, very harmful. They try and hook kids onto the food, and they wonít change. Thatís what annoys me. I am a capitalist. Many people are against capitalism, Iím not. Dave and Helen are against it, but we get on. However, I am not against McDonalds being allowed to trade. But, I do want them to stop some of their practices. If they started offering more food that had a semblance of nutrition, if they didnít target children so much (see below), if they paid overtime and decent wages, if they looked after workers and not treat them like slaves I would be happy.

How do I have the right to decide this? I worked for the company for three years, and I worked all over the UK. I have seen people have nervous breakdowns. Iíve seen friends damage themselves seriously (such as Ms. J. Gardner at the Telford Road store, March 1996.) and receive pitiful compensation. I fractured two vertebrae falling over at McDonalds. Iíve seen teenagers who need the money put up with the bullying and shit hours working there. They know that they have little chance of getting a job elsewhere, and so put up with it. When people are promoted they are taught to become nasty bullies. It is almost impossible to find a manager that has been promoted from crew that is a nice person. The only people that are nice are the crew, and the 2nd assistants that start as 2nd assistants, and did not have to become mini Hitlerís to get the job. If McDonalds want people to like them more, they should listen to us. They have spent between £10 and £15 million on the McLibel case, yet they learned nothing from it.

Dave and I are now trying to ask people to send in letters to the ITC to stop McDonalds advertisements to children. This isnít a fanciful idea; there is some very serious legal logic behind it. I do urge you to find the letter (contained on this site) and send it to the ITC. The ITC are mandated by the Broadcasting Act (1990) to listen o YOU the listener, so the more people send in letters, the more chance we have of making McDís listen.

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