McDonald's VsAustralian Anti-McD Leaflet

Whilst this leaflet uses satirical images, and is a call to protest against McDonalds, it deals with some of the issues which every region has to deal with when corporations move in - exploitation of both the young and mature worker, an attack on the relevant 'culture', and of course the abuse of the legal system to prevent criticism.

This is how it was reported in the media,


McDonald's System of Australia Pty Limited has taken out a writ in the Supreme Court in Victoria alleging slander of goods and defamation.

The company alleged the slander and defamation arose out of various publications including a leaflet and booklet distributed at the restaurant in Collingwood, a suburb of Melbourne.

The defendants are named as Victorian Opposition Upper House leader Bill Landeryou, James Simmons, Karen Throssell, Denis Evans, Robert Burrows, Philip Noyce, John Alford, Joan Rosser and Richard Armor.

A statement issued by the company yesterday said that McDonald's would not tolerate the publication by individuals of what it considered to be defamatory and slanderous statements about it and its food.

"Such statements not only damage the company but also harm the owners of individual mcDonald's restaurants, suppliers of raw products and the thousands of people employed in McDonald's restaurants. Therefore McDonalds has no alternative but to take action to seek redress against those individuals", the statement said.


Before you break under the insistence of your kids - or before you chomp into a 'Big Mac' yourself, remember:

McDonald's is attempting to make us eat like Americans, and work like Americans.

It's in your hands
.... Next time, buy a pie .....

We have heard a lot about the evils of take-away food. It is bad for our health and our pockets, they say. But that's not all. The McDonald's 'system' is different from the corner fish and chip shop. It is a huge multinational corporation making multi-million dollar profits. This pamphlet points out how 'Big Macs' are 'bad' for us in much more sinister ways:

Lean pay - Fat Profits

After working at McDonalds for 12 months, Andy G. was sacked without explanation. "I suspect it was because my parents had complained about rates of pay, and not being driven home when working after midnight." His parents certainly had something to complain about. Andy reported in an interview with the Liquor Trades Union that:

Lance R., 18, worked for McDonalds for 4 weeks. In this time, he worked the same hours every week, but received completely different rates every week. "In my first week, I got $79 in the second $81 and in the third $91." Lance was told that he had to buy his own uniforms (at $22 each) and that he had to have them laundered every day. He was never reimbursed for the uniforms nor did he receive a laundry allowance. He was also ordered to wear a name tag and fined 50c if he didn't.

McDonalds were also very haphazard about the payment of penalty rates and overtime. "My clock-card will show that I worked until 12 every night, but I was paid only until 11. It will also show that I wasn't paid the after 7p.m. penalty rates." The ratio of juniors to adults was about 15:1.

Andy and Lance both gave sworn affadavits to the Liquor Trades Union, and said that they were prepared to have their names published.
However, in the knowledge of the 'industrial consciousness' of employers in this field and with regard to Lance's and Andy's future employment prospects, we decided not to use their full names.

Did you ever wonder why they're all kids?

McDONALD'S is proud of the fact that it uses as much child labour as local labour laws will allow.

This implies that they are conforming to employment provisions set out in the award. The Liquor Trades Union award, which covers McDonald's staff calls for:

In fact the majority of McDonalds employees do adult work for about half of adult wages. The extremely low wages force both permanent and casual youth to work excessively long hours. Some of them have to work up to 70 hours per week to accumulate a 'fair' wage.

The Union has also received complaints against McDonalds which include:

McDonald's justifies this on two counts

If we paid adult wages we'd go broke.
Besides we we're giving them jobs aren't we?"

In fact, McDonald's were so worried about the prospect of being driven out of business by having to pay decent wages, that in America, in 1972, they donated a quarter of a million to Richard Nixon's campaign fund. Is it a coincidence that this occurred precisely at the time that the question of setting a minimum wage for teenagers was being debated by Congress?

Last year McDonalds made a profit of . . . . . . . . .Of course they wouldn't go broke. Their 'super - profits' may be watered down to 'large' profits. Defenders of child exploitation in the workforce claim that 'any job is better than unemployment'.

There is a widespread fear amongst junior employees that there are a vast number of other children waiting to get their jobs (a belief often exploited by a number of employer's). The United Nations Youth Association sub-committee on the role of children in the Victorian workforce has stated that:

"Children, who have very little concept of how the workforce should operate, can easily he duped in to accepting condition's which no-one in this society should be prepared to accept. Even given the seriousness of the current economic situation, we can find no justification for children just because they are the youngest members of the workforce being forced to accept exploitative or unreasonable conditions in their search for a job. "

Unions are
bad for

The use of young labour has a dual motive, firstly to maximise profits and secondly to minimise industrial trouble. For the exploited young are also the inexperienced young: they are poor organisers uncertain about their rights. and ignorant of union regulations.

"It's 150,000 kids out there that makes us tick If the unions succeed at McDonalds then my job has failed."

(Jim Kuhn - McDonalds chief management consultant.)
As suggested by the above quote. In the tradition of management McDonalds are notoriously anti-union. In the USA testimony from former McDonald's own files, concealed instances where employees were forced to submit to lie detector tests, upon threat of dismissal.

One of the main questions asked was whether employees had any union sympathies or if they knew other people who did.

A large percentage of McDonald's management training is directed at 'dealing' with unions, and monitoring their activities.

In the tradition of management techniques to 'diffuse industrial discontent', McDonald's designed a system called the 'rap'.

In theory the system was to show that McDonald's cared about its workers.

They were encouraged to let off steam, by being given the privalege of 'rapping' with their bosses.

In fact it was little more than a sophisticated interrogation technique.

It substituted talk for action, and instilled the idea that because management was on their side, unions were unnecessary.

happened to
the good old

Don't you remember? They had butter on the roll, tomato, onion, lettuce, and beetroot or variations to suit your particular taste.

How could we have ever swapped this for a production line naked patty on a dry roll, covered with all American pickles and mustard?


Because Big Mac's relentless drive to change the eating habits of the world looks like succeeding. In 1975 the US fast-food industry in general and McDonald's in particular planned a major assault on the overseas markets, with Australia and Japan as its main targets.

By 1978 they had 720 outlets in 24 countries. Australia is blessed with 106 of them.

In the wake of this American invasion lie the ruins of the English fish and chip shop, the Japanese noodle shop, and our own pie and sauce shop. For McDonald's make few concessions to national taste. In almost every foreign market, the locals tried to insist that national foods be added to the menu. In Sweden the locals said 'you have to have sausage', in South America it was beans. In Australia, it was beetroot and tomato on the hamburger. In each case, national preferences were ignored and strict conformity to American tastes was preserved. The hide of them!

"The idea of America exporting cuisine to the world is like Northern Ireland offering advice on communily relations, or Iran sponsoring International Women's Year."

And McDonald's is unashamedly ALL-AMERICAN. They have tried for some time to be recognised as the 'all-American' meal - next to the flag, Mom, and apple-pie. In an attempt to prove their patriotism, McDonald's sponsor an all-American marching band, and an all-American football team. During the Cold War in the l950's, Ray Kroc, McDonald's founder made the flag and the flagpole a compulsory part of the 'decor'. The owner-operator of his stands would also be offered the choice of a patriotic decor built around a huge, shiny plastic eagle with mighty wings and glazed, fierce-looking eyes. A banner streamed from its beak:


"We are being credited with changing the eating habits of the world."

McDonald's does not only ignore international objections. There was considerable local protest when they tried to move from the inner city areas to the outer suburbs. They staunchly refused to bow to any local residents complaints, which ranged from fears of spoiling the local environment with their loud and grotesque architecture to driving small snack bars out of business and to attracting 'undesirable elements' into the neighbourhood.

Factors already mentioned such as destruction of ethnic values, poor nutrition and high cost were also ignored. McDonald's defended its stand by resorting to a donimno theory - if one stand fell, they might all crumble. They claimed that by bowing to the demands of neighbourhood self-determination, both their prestige and their economic future would suffer.

There was one group of residents however, who were able to sway the McDonald's board of Directors. They were somewhat special. They lived in the exclusive Manhattan area and they included David Rockefeller, Mr George Bundy, famous international bankers Lehman and Loeb and a host of other media and commercial heavies.

The American 'invasion' aims not just to change Australia's eating habits. They also want to transform our work habits. To produce their identical made to order workers - stamped out on an assembly line like so many Big Macs, McDonald's have set up their Hamburger University.

(caption:'Welcome aboard Chuck!
I'm Professor Tartare, Dept of Pickles.
You're taking the course 'Management of Junior
CrewMembers to Minimise Cash Flow Outwise per se'.
Go to it my boy!'

No it's not a joke.
They actually take it very seriously.
They have professors of Hamburgerlogy. You can get a Masters and even a Ph.D. in Hamburgerlogy, Lectures at HU include "Frozen product care"; "management decision skill"; "competition"; and "basic refrigeration". They also cover the dreaded ""Teenager", and the all important "cash control".
Here would-be managers are taught a whole host of cute gimmicks to help transform our kids into ideal McDonald's style workers.
Kids are not to be called employees. They're 'crew members'. They don't man counter's. They man 'stations'. Just like battleship's. They are all given little green cards to remind them of the six service steps.

1. Smile (compulsory - ever wonder why they always smile - they are programmed to).

2. Take the order.

3. Hustle (suggest an extra item - "fries" perhaps or a drink).

4. Assemble the order - be sure the McDonald's emblem on the bag is facing the customer.

5. Receive payment.

6. Thank customer and ask for repeat business.

It's a lot to remember, and if you forget, you might get spotted by a McDonald's Secret Shopper.

This is another cute word for an industrial spy. The 'Secret Shopper's' job is to mingle amongst the rest of the workforce and give them spot CSR's (customer service reports), and to check the Q, S and C's (Quality, Service and Cleanliness).

The McDonald's 'System' rips us off in many ways. It destroys the old skills of the chef and the restauranteur by introducing a mechanical 'patty-to-patron production line'. It insults national culture by presuming to change our taste buds to adjust to bland chemically laden American standards. Yet another example of homogenised American mass culture is being thrust down our throats. Worst of all it is using our kids to achieve its end.

"The Australian worker is not prone to hustling"
Tom Gruber - US International Marketing Director

McDonald's is known world-wide as an exploiter of child labour - a company with a multi-million dollar profit, which claims that it can't afford to pay award wages to juniors, let alone hire adults. It also exploits kids through its advertising - and exploits parental guilt about 'depriving' their kids of something they want. It fills them full of high calorie chemically treated junk. It sets out to transform them into mindless 'companymen', with all of the worst of slick gimmickery that American management techniques can muster.

"It is no coincidence that McDonald's donated $250,000 to Nixon's 1972 Presidential Campaign at a time when debate was taking place in the U.S. congress to include a subminimum wage for teenagers in the Minimum Wage Bill"

"Big Mac: The unauthorised story of McDonald's by Max Boas and Steve Chain

McDonalds young work force

The Bulletin of May 2 1978, has this to say:

"McDonald's relies heavily on young and casual labour. Between mid 1976 and February 1977, McDonald's employed 2,275 people in New South Wales. Of these 1,942 were casuals and 94 per cent juniors. About 53 per cent were 16 years of age and under."

These juniors do adult work for considerably less than adult wages. McDonald's regard joining the Union and any attempt to agitate to improve pay and conditions as troublesome. In fact, if this does occur the Liquor Trades Union believes that employees who are not members or the Union face the risk of certain dismissal. Thus his insidious use of child labour has a dual motive firstly to maximise profits and secondly, the inexperience of youth prevents them from organising. The extremely low wages force both permanent and casual youths to work excessively long hours. Some permanent junior staff, the Union believes, work up to 70 hours per week to accummulate a "fair" wage.

"This hardly seems surprising when one considers this is the same organisation which became notorious in the U.S.A. because it employed casual teenage workers at sub-minimum wages who were forced to take lie detector tests before they were hired."
The Liquor and Allied Trades Union will continue its efforts both to expose McDonald's and to provide the necessary protection for an exploited work-force Any employee, past or present, who has a complaint or who simply wants the protection the Union can offer should contact the Union on: (number ommitted). People contacting The Union can do so in complete confidence. Their confidentiality will be preserved should they desire it.


° If you are a parent and/or Unionist don't support companies that exploit your kids
° If you are a kid who wants a job don't be "ripped off". It should not be a choice between a "rip off" job or no job at all.
° It you are any kind of Australian don't stand by and watch yet another American take-over. McDonald's is attempting to make us eat like Americans and to work like Americans.

It is in your hands. Next time buy a pie or fish and chips or even dim sims . . anything has got to be better than a chemically laden "Big Mac"!


McDonalds have been attacked almost constantly on food quality as they seek to establish the American Fast Food Dream in Australia (a leading Californian doctor was quoted saying, "I recommend the air between the bun as the most wholesome part of a McDonald's hamburger.") Allegations include fatty, oversugared and chemical-laden food including:

Overall, McDonalds products are the epitome of junk food . . . high in calories and low in total food value. The "Big Mac", perhaps the ultimate convenience food, contains 30 per cent of its calories in fats, two-thirds higher then recommended by nutritionists.

Is Junk Food Cheap?

The followiing list of prices are approximate cost prices for McDonalds products. Packaging and labour costs have to be added. We leave it to you to decide if these prices are worth the difference in cost and retail prices, or if you are getting ripped off.......
Approx raw costPrice Paid
Big Mac20c $1.10
Chicken and Chips 35c$1.80
Apple Pie 13c .50
Fillet of Fish 25c.95
French Fries 4.5c.40

Note: McDonald's generally add a surcharge for public holidays etc. of 10 percent. Milk shakes are synthetic with minimal amount of milk powder. Coke is coke essence (50 per cent).