1. I joined McDonald's n 1985 as a part-time crew member at the Enfield restaurant, whilst still at school. I became a full-time employee during the summer of 1986, having left school. I moved to the Leytonstone restaurant in 1987 as First Assistant where I remained until 1989 when I was promoted to Store Manager at the Bethnal Green restaurant. I remained at Bethnal Green for 2] years before moving as store manager to open the new Haringey restaurant. I remained there for 3 months before moving back to Leytonstone. I was then moved to Hertford as Store Manager for 6 months before moving to the Uxbridge restaurant as Store Manager in early summer 1994. I am now the Manager of the Shaftesbury Avenue restaurant.
2. In June 1994 I was asked by my Operations Manager, Mark Schweitzer, to move to the Heathrow Drive-thru' restaurant. He told me that the store was not performing well and that I was being sent there to improve the situation.
3. When I arrived at the Heathrow restaurant it was immediately obvious that the basic problem with the restaurant was one of understaffing. There were only about 60 crew members on the payroll, which was far too few for a store of that size and volume. It was also clear that there was a lack of discipline both amongst the managers and the crew members and that the atmosphere in the restaurant was not a happy one. In my view, the store had clearly been suffering from poor management by my predecessor, Jon Nevison. Once a store becomes short-staffed it becomes harder and harder to recruit new staff. Conditions in the store worsen; the word gets round that this is the case and people do not want to join.
4. A. an emergency interim measure I arranged for the transfer of a number of experienced crew members from other restaurants to tide me over while I recruited and trained new crew members. In the first month we took on 40 new crew. I also set about improving the discipline within the restaurant of both managers and crew by making it clear what standards I expected in the store.
5. I have read the statement of Alan Beech, whom I recall as a quiet, pleasant individual. He worked at the restaurant for about 3 months after I joined before he left to go back to college. I recall that at the time of his leaving I asked him if he wanted to come back to work during the Christmas holidays and he said that he would.
6. I have a number of comments on the allegations which he makes in his statement.
7. Beech is correct in saying that a number of the crew who were under 18 years old did work after 12 o'clock. This was obviously due to the understaffing at the store. As soon as I had managed to recruit extra crew members, I ensured that this did not happen again. Similarly, I found out that some of the managers had been altering clockcards in order to hide the fact that crew members under 18 years old had been working past 12 o'clock. Again, I put a stop to this because it was against company policy.
8. It is also correct that when I arrived, a number of crew members were working long hours. Indeed on my first day in the restaurant both I and my supervisor, Semir Khazna, worked a 10 hour shift in the kitchen. Once again, this was due to the shortage of staff. This practice ended within a couple of weeks of my arrival as by that time I had increased the staff numbers to ensure that it would not happen. I think it extremely unlikely that any of the employees would have worked shifts as long as 16 hours and certainly not for a period of 12 days in a row. That certainly did not happen while I was manager. In every store I have worked in there are always some crew who are very keen to work as many hours as possible and volunteer for extra shifts, and this was also the case at Heathrow. Crew are never forced to work extra shifts.
9. With regard to breaks, it is true that some crew will be asked by the managers to take their breaks early in the shift. Obviously, breaks have to be staggered through the whole period of the shift to ensure sufficient cover throughout. It is certainly not the case however that any crew would be told to "go on break or go home". I know this did not happen while I was manager and I doubt it would have happened previously. With the store being understaffed, it would have been completely counter-productive to send any crew home.
10. Crew are encouraged to "hustle". However, this is only the case on the front counter and the drive-thru, never in the kitchen, where it would be dangerous. I do not accept that 'hustle' means to "run and scramble about slightly faster than is humanly possible". In my view 'hustle' means to move efficiently. Again, it is not correct that crew were shouted at. Obviously, if you are working on the front counter and calling for food you have to speak loudly enough to be heard over the noise of the kitchen, but this does not mean shouting.
11. It is inconceivable that, as he alleges, Beech could have run the entire kitchen and the till for any period of time, let alone 90 minutes. It is Just not possible for someone to do that. Beech is also wrong in saying that the kitchen should have about 15 people working in it. If the restaurant was busy then there would normally only be 5 people working in the kitchen. There would simply not be the room to have 15 people in the kitchen and there would be nothing to occupy that number of crew.
12. With regard to the question of burns, it is true that people do get burns from time to time. The burns tend to be minor ones in the main and occur at the grill station. Burns tend to happen due to lack of concentration and in my view are not connected with understaffing.
13. I am not aware of any incident relating to changing the Teflon of the nature described by Beech. I would expect to have been aware of it, if it had occurred because I was the Manager at the time (August/early September 1994). The Teflon on the grills is normally replaced once every month or so due to wear and tear and is done by either managers or training squad. Beech is not correct in saying that the grill is turned off to change the Teflon. This is not necessary and does not normally happen. When I arrived at the restaurant the accident book was being used, as I recall seeing recent entries. It continued to be used while I was the manager and such a burn as Beech describes would have been entered in it.
14. As far as the question of the union is concerned, it is certainly not the case that any notice of the type described by Beech was In the crew room while I was the manager. I would check the crew room daily to ensure that t was kept clean and that the notices which I had put up on the notice board had not been defaced. Accordingly, I would have been aware of such a notice if it had existed. The question of a union has never been raised with me by any crew members although very occasionally I have heard it referred to in a very joking fashion.
15. Beech is correct that McDonald's have strict rule. about the handling and storage of food. He is incorrect, however, that pickles are only allowed to be kept out of the refrigerator for a maximum of 2 hours. Pickles are stored at ambient temperature, and not in the refrigerator. There is no 2-hour rule for them. Products like cheese and lettuce which are stored in the refrigerator are subject to a 2-hour rule, which is strictly adhered to. It is also not correct to say that the pickles would be topped up. The pot is only topped up when empty, which happens quite frequently during a busy day.
16. Lastly, with regard to the allegation about waste, Beech is totally wrong about the system used. Waste is not taken to the person on wrap and call for it to be logged. All waste products are placed in red bins, which are present throughout the kitchen, and then counted at a later time. Consequently, there would be no reason for the person on wrap and call to shout at anyone and that did not happen. It is also entirely incorrect that any food dropped would be used. If it was dropped it would be placed in a red bin.
Obviously if someone was continuously dropping food they would be spoken to about it, to try and iron out the problem, but otherwise nothing would happen.
17. I left the Heathrow restaurant in August 1995 to become store manager of Shaftesbury Avenue which is my present position. The move was at my request, as living in Enfield, it was taking me between 4 and 5 hours per day to travel back and forth to the restaurant. By the time I left Heathrow there were approximately 170 crew members on the payroll. The disciplinary problems had been alleviated and the atmosphere transformed. The standard of the restaurant as a whole had increased tremendously, and in the mystery visitor report, the restaurant scored 98% over 8 visits which was the highest in the London South region.
January 4, 1996|
Appeared in court|
exhibits: Not applicable/ available
transcripts of court appearances: