witness statement

name: Tom Jenssen
section: Employment
for: The Defence
experience: McDonald's worker and Union Representative


The witness gives an informed view of McDonald's anti-union sentiments as a worker and an area union rep in Norway


Not available for this witness

Full cv:
(not available for this witness)

full statement:

I have Since december 1993 been the head union representative of McDonald's Nedre Slottsgt 21, I'm also a representative in the Oslo Hotell- og Restaurantpersonaletsforening, a part of the HRAF that organize some 1300 members in the Oslo area. I have worked at the MeDonald's in Nedre Slottsgt. 21 in Oslo for six years Since summer l988,


During the summer and autumn of 1993 there were negotiations between HRAF and McDonald's. This was because twelve of the closers, the people who wash the restaurant dming the night, had entered the union seeking better pay and better working conditions. McDonald's first reaction to this was to give all of them one months notice claiming they were no longer needed because new equipment, washing machines. The HRAF pointed out that the grills and other equipment would still need to be washed by hand or put into the washing machines and said they would take these dismissals to court to prove that they weren't nececary. McDonald's quickly withdrew the dismissals.

Collective Agreement

We have since december 1993 had a collective agreement between McDonald'5 and HRAF, the norwegian hotel and restaurant workers union.

The agreement between McDonald's and the HRAF was not easily reached and after all the diffrent rounds of negotiations that norwegian law describes before workers can legally strike an agreement had still not been reached. The workers and the HRAF therefore prepared to strike. The was some interest in the situation from the press as most norwegians consider an agreement between workers and management as something uncontroversia1 and essential to secure workers their rights. The agreement between the HRAF and McDonald's was reached the day before the strike was sheduled to start after newspapers had reported that during a strike almost no deliveries or services would be given to a restaurant with picketlines outside.

The newspapers also wrote that minors had worked durhig the night in some of the resturants. Theo Holm of McDonald's has said that this only happened a few times but this is not the case, I myself worked until 23.30 or even until twelwe while I was only sixteen. If you are under 18 you may not work later than 2300. I worked almost every saturday night for over a year. McDonald's claims that since they obtained permission from the parents this was not illegal but the law gives no allowance for parents to have any say in the matter.

Non Compatible Philosophy

In the days before the agreement was reached all workers at the restaurant were called to individual meetings with Martin Graham the supervisor of our restaurant. He explained that the McDonalds "philosophy" was not compatible with an agreement with the HRAF. He claimed that we would receive less pay, and that the whole system of the restaurant had to be changed. He claimed that it was not in the workers' best interest to have a collective agreement. He also claimed that the HRAF were not interested in helping the workers at McDonalds. We were also called to a staff meeting where Theo Holm was present. He repeated that it was not in McDonalds or the workers interest that there should be an agreement between McDonalds and HRAF.

Personally I was banned from the restaurant during non-working hours in the weeks before the agreement was reached.

About one month after the agreement was signed HRAF found out that McDonalds had moved all stocks that was our restaurant from a company called Zero-Fivell A/S to one called McDonald's Norway A/S. The agreement wich was signed was therefore not legally valid because Theo Holm signed an agreement between Zero-Fivell A/S and HRAF.

Openly Hostile

Some of the management team in my restaurant were also openly hostile to a collectve agreement. Store manager Rein Ørbø often made jokes about the union. Manager Wenche Berget called me a "drittsekk" and claimed that I was only in the union to get power for myself.

All in all I must say that McDonalds have been hostile towards HRAF and towards the members of the union. .

Improvements Gained By Union Recognition

The contents of this statement are to the best of my knowledge true.

date signed: Not Dated
status: Appeared in court

references: Not applicable/available

exhibits: Not applicable/ available

transcripts of court appearances:

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