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McLibel Support Campaign
P R E S S . R E L E A S E . 12/10/00
McLibel Support Campaign / London Greenpeace 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX. Tel/Fax 0207 713 1269 For Internet info:


This day marks the anniversary of the death in 1992 of Mark Hopkins, a worker electrocuted at a McDonald's store in Manchester. (On 8th March 1996, a crew member from Wollongong in Australia, also died from electrocution in controversial circumstances). In recent years there have been leafletting of McDonald's staff, solidarity pickets and other protests on this day. Now UK mcworkers speak out too (see below).

"I want every McDonald's worker to stand up for their rights, which is why I am backing this campaign 100%. In this way, Mark's death will not have been in vain." - Maureen Hopkins, Mark's mother. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


There have been disputes and strikes in a number of countries, and in some the company has been forced to accept trade unions and workers' rights. In Canada, a few years ago, a 16 year old crew member, keeping it secret from management, single-handedly signed up over half of the workers in her store into a trade union. At the end of the 1990s a Union drive at the Saint-Hubert store in Quebec, Canada resulted in 82% of crew members joining the union and demanding Union rights and a similar union drive in Macedonia, Ohio, USA, led to over half joining. In 1994 in France, five Store Managers were arrested for refusing to recognise crew members' rights and trade union elections in their stores. A strike has also taken place there. In Germany there is some Union membership and a magazine for McDonald's workers, and they have supported the Oct 12th Day of Action in the past.

In the UK there have been efforts within various stores over the years to organise, to join a trade union, or to challenge local store management. Please read the exciting statement (below) we received today from some defiant staff. Naturally, there is discontent and anger in every store among those being forced to work so hard for such low wages, being bossed around like slaves, brainwashed by idiotic company propaganda, and then expected to smile all the time! And all so that McDonald's can make fat profits from its mediocre and useless products.

However, due to McDonald's repressive but sophisticated methods in opposing any workers challenging the status quo, there is a great need for outside support and solidarity. Over a million and a half people worldwide work for McDonald's - they work in similar conditions, carefully created and controlled by management to maximise company profits. McDonald's have pioneered methods of exploitation which have been widely taken up by other companies and corporations. All workers in the food industry, and in every industry under capitalism everywhere, are exploited - but McDonald's is an excellent symbol of a global economy dominated by institutions geared to profiteering. Resistance to McDonald's - whether communities opposing the siting of new stores, campaigners undermining their public image, or from store workers standing up to management power, shows that people everywhere can think for themselves and fight back.

This is why each year we promote the October 12th Day of Action in support of McDonald's workers, and encourage ongoing support for them throughout the year (see leaflet below).

in solidarity,

McLibel Support Campaign


Today we received the following statement from a group of McDonald's store workers that we've had some sporadic contact with over the last few months....

Any response from McDonald's workers elsewhere etc can be forwarded by us:

" McDonalds Workers Resistance

" McDonalds Workers Resistance (MWR), run entirely by McDonalds employees, is an independent combination of a few small groups of workers that have united in an attempt to create serious opposition to the company.

" Most of us agree that working for McDonalds is shit - late nights, skin irritations, no overtime, harassment from management, low wages, stupid uniforms, unlawful business practices, imbecilic propaganda, cuts and burns, oppressive controls on how we should look, never being able to finish on time - there's a lot we object to. Our proposal is simple - DON'T MOAN, ORGANISE! We believe that if we can only realise our collective power then there is nothing we can't win. We also believe that we can do this best without leaders or hierarchies but by working at a local level to begin to control our working lives.

" Consequently, MWR has been established, not as a centralised group, but as a convenient banner under which several previously isolated pockets of resistance can fight back against the company. We have no official membership and no dues so please take the initiative in (dis)organising your store and spreading the resistance (please be careful and remember McDonalds record of attempting to silence all who oppose it). " McDonalds is the epitome of triumphalist capitalism, arrogant and contemptuous of those who oppose it. It may soon be surprised - the workers united are more possible than they can powerfully imagine. "

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A leaflet for October 12th, or any other day..


ARE YOU SICK OF LOW WAGES? Would you prefer a decent pay rise, guaranteed hours, overtime pay and an end to humiliating "performance reviews"?

ARE YOU SICK OF SEEING PEOPLE INJURED? Even McDonald's admit that burns, slips and falls etc are BIG problems.

ARE YOU SICK OF BEING BOSSED AROUND? Do you want RIGHTS, and freedom from being constantly watched and treated like being in the Army? Do you want an end to harassment and unfair dismissals?

ARE YOU SICK OF POOR WORKING CONDITIONS? Do you want relief from continual pressures to work hard, to 'hustle', to cut corners with safety procedures? Do you want decent breaks, and to smile when YOU feel like it?

ARE YOU SICK OF McDONALD'S? Are you fed up with all the crawling to bigwigs from Head Office, the company's inane propaganda, and their processed food?


Did you know that McDonald's spends well over $2 billion worldwide every year on ads and promotions to boost their image - yet they can't, for example, find a single penny to pay overtime. The aim is: get profits UP, and wage costs DOWN.

No wonder so many chuck the job in. But those who stay can fight to improve things.

"It's their right to join a Union if they so choose." Paul Preston (McDonald's UK President) in the High Court, 5th July 1994

WHAT YOU CAN DO - Obviously you'll need to be careful. But you can: * copy these leaflets to give secretly to your mates, including at other stores * find out and demand your legal rights, and use company grievance procedures * anonymously tip off local press and others about in-store conditions (including food quality and hygiene) * refuse to play the 'hustle' game * build up solidarity amongst staff by getting together in the crew room, or better still by socialising together or organising meetings outside the store to talk about problems * secretly join a trade union and get others to do so as well.

Why not access the 'McSpotlight' Internet site ( Join the many McDonald's workers and managers sharing their views and experiences by contributing to the McSpotlight on-line discussion forum - the Workers' Debating Room.

McLibel Support campaign, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX.

contact details 
McLibel Support Campaign
5 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DX, UK.
Tel/Fax: +44 (207) 713 1269
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